Skip directly to content

Poetic Theater Productions is an NYC theater company working with poets & playwrights to create a visceral, poetic theater

Who We Are

on Fri, 12/19/2014 - 22:08


Poetic Theater Productions seeks to define the modern genre of “poetic theater” by connecting and fostering a community of artists who are passionately creating relevant and accessible work and reinvigorating a conscious theater of language. Poetic Theater Productions offers resources and opportunities for poets, playwrights, and theater artists to create new work and see it through to production via educational workshops, developmental readings and performance. PTP seeks out and creates opportunities to connect with communities affected by the issues of topic within our productions, in NYC and nationwide, through collaborative projects and exchanges of art and ideas.


Who We Are:

Poetic Theater Productions started in 2010 as a way to put the work of slam poets into a theatrical setting which became a theatrical production company, and has moved into providing a platform for poetic theater artists of all backgrounds, offering resources and support to poets interested in writing for the theater and playwrights developing work with poetic influence. We exist in response to the increasing need in America for a diverse theatrical landscape of voice, subject matter and form. We respond to the need for a theatrical platform for traditionally marginalized voices and narratives kept out of mainstream because of cultural and socioeconomic conditions which result in a departure from the American theatrical tradition - i.e. hip hop, dance theater, slam poetry, oral storytelling, and ritual. Poetic Theater Productions has created and is constantly expanding its community of socially engaged, innovative poetic theater artists and actively engaged audience in productions engaging voices and narratives from Black/African-American communities, veterans, LGBT, and socioeconomically challenged youth, among others. We create space for conversations surrounding these issues to occur across boundaries of race and class, elevating the conversation on responsibility, activism and practice. By organizing the tools and resources to support new voices and styles of narrative, we are validating these other forms of storytelling within the realm of theater to communities who look to theater as a way to understand humanity.

At our core, we believe in providing space and resources to poetic theater artists to see their work realized, in encouraging our artists to continue to develop their craft and to collaborate with each other, in supporting the voices of underrepresented artists and legitimizing their work on a New York stage, and inciting conversations across generations, cultures and political viewpoints. There is stigma surrounding slam theater or hip hop theater that’s only seen as relevant to a particular community, and also of Shakespeare and verse theater which is similarly seen as exclusive towards its audience, and Poetic Theater Productions seeks to break those assumptions by putting hip hop and verse on the same stage and bringing those audiences together.

We hope to have a defining impact on the genre of Poetic Theater and add to the theatrical lexicon by strengthening the impact of heightened text that engages political, social and cultural ideas as an important theatrical form. We also hope to reach nontraditional audiences by speaking on themes important to them and using language accessible and impactful to them, and we hope to inspire more poets to use the tools of playwriting to explore and expand the potential reach and impact of their work.


Range of Programs:

Conscious Language is a series of educational workshops, panels and performance about the power of words in performance. The workshops, lead by Craig “muMs” Grant and Lauren Whitehead, teach poets how to write plays and give them an opportunity to share that work with the public. The panels engage leading artists such as Saul Williams, José Rivera and Dominique Morisseau in conversation about the role of art in activism alongside performances of works in process by artists in our community.

Poetic License is our annual festival of new poetic theater, which has grown from five days to three weeks in the past four years. The fourth annual Poetic License features two fully realized productions of exciting new poetic plays written by company members, a reading series of six new works of poetic theater identified through an open submission process, and three special events: Breaking Our Silence, a celebration of LGBT voices; Love, Redefined, remixes, and re-imaginings of traditional love poems in celebration of non-commercial, non-traditional love; and Generation Now, a showcase of youth voices in poetic theater in partnership with Urban Word NYC, Girl Be Heard, Generation Why, viBe Theater Experience and Earsay Youth Voices.

Goliath is a 45 minute, spare-set choreodrama which contends with war, atrocity, post-traumatic stress, masculinity, and homophobia in the context of the US invasion of Iraq, which continues to have relevance in this contemporary moment. Every performance of Goliath features poetry before the play begins written and performed by veterans in the community, and is followed by a moderated discussion, creating a forum for audience members to respond and converse with the creative team and cast. Goliath has been embraced by civilians, military families and veterans alike. We plan to take the show across the country in late 2015 and early 2016 to continue to engage veterans, college students and local communities in conjunction with workshops run by the artists, enabling audiences to begin having these important conversations and to witness the power of theater to heal and create conversation across divided communities.

Other programming includes Poetic Theater Productions Presents: informal presentation of 10-12 new poetic theater works in various stages of development, Uncharted: table readings of new work by Poetic Theater Productions artists, full productions of poetic theater works, sometimes as part of an external festival, and educational opportunities in the form of internships in marketing, administration, literary and production.