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For the 25th year, a handful of stars and over 100 performing arts organizations, independent artists, poets, puppeteers and film makers will join forces in the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, available virtually on the website of its presenting organization, Theater for the New City (TNC). The event started in 1996 as a three-day, indoor and outdoor multi-arts festival intended to demonstrate the creative explosion of the Lower East Side and the area’s importance to culture and tourism for New York City. This year, with obligatory separation caused by Coronavirus, it is being mounted entirely on TNC's website, with the possibility of sharing it with the world for the first time. The 2020 festival, themed "Renaissance: Arts Alive 25," is dedicated to essential workers: the frontline professionals who preserve our daily lives. These include professionals in the healthcare sector (doctors, nurses, EMT), government services (including fire, police, sanitation, mass transit, National Guard); public utilities, post office and other delivery services; private industries including eldercare, airports, food service workers, grocery store clerks and workers in such jobs as cashiers, stock clerks, security, airport, gas station attendants, pharmacists, funeral home workers, news providers, homeless services, food pantry workers and volunteers, janitorial staff, radio and TV engineers, communications network providers and more. Offerings will include both live and recorded material from artists presently residing on the Lower East Side, arts groups performing there, prominent writers and artists whose work has dealt directly with the Lower East Side experience, and plays written especially for this festival. The distinct ethnic communities of the Lower East Side are amply represented, including the Latin American, African American, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Native American, Polish and Ukrainian communities. There will be testimonials by local elected officials and activists. Disciplines presented will include theater, music, dance, poetry, puppetry, late night cabaret, visual art, film and kids' programming.
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY was founded in 1970 by Crystal Field to realize clear purposes and goals:
-to embody the vision of a center for new and innovative theater arts that would be truly accessible to the community and its experimental theater artists.
-to discover relevant new writing and to nurture new playwrights.
-to be a bridge between playwright, experimental theater artist, and the ever growing audiences in the community.
-to create spaces where a new vision can breathe and be nourished by a working process not subject to commercial constraints and pressures.
-to create events and ways in which to bring theater into the community and bring the community into the theater.
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY is a unique cultural Institution that has earned a nationwide reputation for its dedication to nurturing established and emerging playwrights who experiment with new forms and to presenting other experimental and developmental theaters with a very active program of Community Art Services and Festivals which continue to expand theater accessibility.
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