Artistic Director Dan Friedman to Teach
Performance Activism at Harvard
Dr. Dan Friedman, the artistic director of the Castillo Theatre and associate dean of UX, has been appointed a Visiting Lecturer on Theatre, Dance & Media at Harvard University. In his Fall 2017 course entitled “Performance Activism,” Dan will explore with his students the growing international movement that uses performance to engage social problems, activate communities, and experiment with new social and political possibilities. The course will include the activities of the Castillo Theatre, the youth and adult programs of the All Stars Project, along with the work of the East Side Institute.
“It’s a great opportunity to share our work, our methodology, our discoveries and those of our colleagues and friends around the world with students at Harvard,” said Friedman, pictured above left with Allie Woods who directed Dan's play Ain't Never Been Easy last fall at Castillo. Dr. Friedman will commute to Cambridge weekly while continuing to shoulder all his many responsibilities here in New York. Photo: J. Spirito
Talented Volunteer of the Month
March 2017: Gediminas Ivanauskas
Gediminas was introduced to the All Stars by the Volunteer Referral Center in January. He has been a key member of the House Staff since then, working several shows each week during the run of Adam. As well, he has supported multiple phone shifts, been on staff for the Cops and Kids Demonstration Workshop, helped produce a Youth Host training for the upcoming gala, and is now excited to begin volunteering with the DSY Program.
Gediminas has been inspired by the All Stars' approach of development through performance. His experience with theatre in his home country of Lithuania has helped him understand the impact that theatre can have. He also appreciates the way programs like Cops and Kids and DSY help youth and communities.
“Gediminas has been a great addition to the All Stars. His first time volunteering with us was the opening night of Adam and he was immediately asked to be an usher. Although he later admitted to being extremely nervous ushering for the first time, Gediminas stepped up and performed his assigned role with the poise of a seasoned veteran. From that day forth he has been a consistent presence here at the All Stars, and has taken on every new assignment with the same calmness, smile and attention to detail that he showed on that first night.” - Rob Mowring, Program Leader, Volunteerism
Diane Stiles Among Trailblazing Women
Honored in Theatre Awards Event
Diane Stiles, All Stars Project VP of New York Programs, (above at right) was honored alongside (left to right in back row) Marjorie Moon of the Billie Holiday Theatre, Shay Wafer of 651 Arts, Ellie Covan of Dixon Place, Vivian Deangelo of IATI Theater, and Linda Herring of the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, at the 2nd Annual Evening in Appreciation of Trailblazing Women in the Arts this past Sunday, January 29. The event was organized by Rhythmcolor Associates and the Potpourri World Women Works Series, Kim Weston-Smith (above front and center) producing artistic director. Castillo members, below, turned out in support!
Ms Stiles was introduced by Grace Jones, president of AUDELCO. Here is Diane's acceptance statement:
It's an honor to be here tonight. My thanks to Kim Weston-Moran and Rhythm Color Associates. It's humbling to be in the company of such trailblazing women as Shay, Linda, Ellie, Vivian and the esteemed Marjorie Moon. Congratulation to all of my co-honorees - for this recognition, and on your wonderful work and leaderships in our field.
At a moment when inclusion is such a dire issue, I appreciate that the cultural institutions we represent are multi-cultural, inclusive, experimental, nurture artists and creativity, as well as nurturing new audiences. I am so proud to be in this company tonight, as we continue to create theatre, our country and our world together.
As Grace said, what attracted me to Castillo was its activism, its commitment to the poor and dedication to building community. When I began volunteering at Castillo over 30 years ago, I'd never have imagined that I'd be here tonight -- or that I'd have the privilege of working side by side with the most talented organizer I've ever met, our late artistic director, Fred Newman ... and now with our current artistic director, the indefatigable Dan Friedman.
I'm proud that Castillo's community includes so many dedicated theatre artists and theatre companies. It is a great joy that we now share our 42nd Street center with the Great Connector: Woodie King, Jr., and his New Federal Theatre. At the Castillo Theatre and our parent nonprofit, the All Stars Project, I am in the company of strong, dynamic women leadership in the president and CEO, Gabrielle Kurlander, and co-founder Dr. Lenora Fulani. These women guide and support me - and so many others. I am inspired every single day by the longtime builders of Castillo and by our volunteers who make Castillo their own. I especially want to thank all of the Smiling Castillo People who are here tonight. Thank you!
Talented Volunteer of the Month
January 2017: Gab Magallanes
Since July of last year, when she was introduced to the All Stars by her friend and current Talented Volunteer, Miko DiGiacomo-Castillo, Gab has been a dedicated member of the Theatre Sales and Fundraising Team. She staffed the Performing the World 2016 conference, assisted with DSY events, performed House Staff for 4 theatre productions— and is excited to continue doing so with Adam when it opens February 9th— and she provides support to the Volunteer Department itself.
Gab has been inspired by the All Stars' approach of development through performance. In her time with the All Stars, she has seen herself grow more comfortable speaking to new people and building relationships with the community. Her growth combined with the impact she sees the All Stars having on the lives of youth and poor communities has reaffirmed her career aspirations. Currently a sophomore at St. John's University, majoring in Economics and Government Politics, she plans to continue to law school, pursuing a career as a public defense attorney and eventual judge, so that she can continue making change in the lives of minorities and poor people.
UX Opening Day 2017
MLK Day Celebrated as New Term Kicked Off at UX Opening Day January 2017
Incoming students of all ages and backgrounds were welcomed to the All Stars Project’s 42nd Street education and performance center by UX Dean Dr. Lenora B. Fulani. 249 people participated. Students came to learn about the winter-spring offerings of free classes, workshops and outings, all designed to help people grow and develop. It is not too late to sign up! Call Alexandra Brown at 212-356-8458 or email her at email@example.com for more information. Photos by Jorge Bolano
Sold out Run for “Zora Neale Hurston”
Laurence Holder's dramatic biographical play, directed by Woodie King Jr., played to full and enthusiastic audiences throughout its fall run. The production, by the New Federal Theatre in association with Castillo, chronicled Hurston’s extraordinary life. A brilliant and independent woman from an all-Black Florida township, she became one of the most prolific African American writers of the 20's and 30’s, known as "The Queen of the Harlem Renaissance." She was a controversial individual whose strong opinions both angered and inspired her contemporaries and later generations of young Black writers.
Holder's play is set in Eatonville, Florida as a 70-year old looks back on her extraordinary life. The Harlem Renaissance and the jazz age, Jim Crow and white liberal "sponsors"... the play revisits the music, the people, and most importantly the politics that shaped America then and now.
In the words of reviewer Constance Rodgers, "Zora Neale Hurston was authentic and beautiful. Elizabeth Van Dyke as Zora Neale Hurston is authentic and beautiful. Van Dyke inhabits Hurston in all her personas. When Van Dyke tells a story, a folktale, she becomes Zora. You feel you are at the party watching and listening to Hurston become all the characters in the tale; man, woman, God, the devil. Van Dyke also shows us Zora’s vulnerability, her intelligence and her joy."
Read the full review here.
On January 27, 2017 the play will be presented at The Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Orlando, Florida.
Performing Fred Newman:
Scenes, Songs, and Of Course, Waffles
The 5th annual celebration of the life and work of Castillo's late founder and long time artistic director Fred Newman was held at the theatre Friday June 10th. Scenes from Newman plays were performed by ensembles cast on the spot; songs from Newman/Roboff musicals were sung; waffles were prepared and served by Castillo's associate managing director John Rankin III and his fabulous team of volunteer cooks.
"Votes" Extended Through May 22!
Votes questions the nature of feminism, of power and of the political game itself. By turns dramatic and comedic, Votes draws on a 1999 musical The Last Temptation of William Jefferson, written in the wake of the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal by Castillo’s late artistic director, Fred Newman and Grammy-nominated composer Annie Roboff. Seventeen years later, Jacqueline S. Salit takes Temptation and wraps a new story around it, examining the political and personal conflicts of the famous First Couple.
Given the strong audience response, the show's run has been extended through May 22, 2016.
2015 Otto René Castillo Awards for
Political Theatre Celebrated May 17th
The 17th annual Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre were celebrated at the Castillo Theatre on May 17, honoring the awardees...
Bond Street Theatre has been creating innovative theatre works that cross cultural borders and illuminate social issues since 1976. Their goal is to promote peace and understanding by collaborating with theatre artists worldwide and initiating community-based arts projects. Bond Street explores the relevance of the arts in areas of conflict and poverty, with a special focus on refugees, women and youth, and advocates for artists as powerful spokespersons for their communities. The company has created theatre projects for conflict resolution, healing and empowerment in more than 30 counties worldwide, with current projects in Afghanistan, Myanmar and Kenya.
Michael Rohd is founding artistic director of the award-winning national ensemble-based Sojourn Theatre. He devises, directs and collaborates on cross-sector projects around the nation, is on faculty at Northwestern University, wrote the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue, and leads the Center for Performance and Civic Practice.
Carlton and Maurice Turner together founded M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction) in the late 1990s, a flexible ensemble focused on collaborative creation in communities. Based in Mississippi, the Turner brothers are artists, arts educators and cultural organizers who use the performing arts to help young people empower themselves and facilitate conversations about the role of art and culture in the broader struggles of our society.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka at Castillo
for Most Dangerous Man in America
(June 13, 2015) From left to right, actors Art McFarland and Petronia Paley, Mayor Baraka, director Woodie King, Jr., and Diane Stiles of Castillo Theatre. Most Dangerous Man in America (W.E.B DuBois) continues to draw full houses and rave reviews from audience members and critics alike.
Castillo House Staff: A Proud Performance!
The house staff volunteers of the Castillo Theatre handled the sell-out crowds of our most recent show in stride, continuing to live up to their reputation as being of "the highest caliber I have experienced at any theater-- including Broadway theater" (Review by G.S. Bowen of Manhattan Neighborhood Network). Pictured left to right on the closing weekend of Most Dangerous Man in America (W.E.B. DuBois) are Janetta King, Tanya Rosado, Sarah Goode, Faith Vann, Betsy Cruz, Bernadene Weekes, Jorge Bolano, Jennifer Engstler, James Dickson and Dianne Finn.