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PRELUDE Festival 2021: Start Making Sense!

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Oct 25, 2021
Oct 31, 2021
Live Stream

13 curators!
12 works-in-progress from New York’s theatre artists and ensembles!

7 offerings from across the US – spanning Austin, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco!

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center proudly announces PRELUDE 2021: Start Making Sense!

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY will present its 2021 PRELUDE festival, “Prelude 2021: Start Making Sense!,” virtually from October 25 to October 31. This fest is the annual flagship event of the Segal Center. Traditionally, it is dedicated to artists at the forefront of contemporary NYC theater, dance, interdisciplinary and mediatized performance and offers an array of short performances, readings, and screenings — a survey of the current New York moment and the work being prepared for the next season and beyond, plus new commissions and panel discussions with artists, scholars, and performers. 

This year, the Graduate Center at CUNY is still closed for public programs, so the fest is being presented online only for the second year. Works by 19 theater and performance companies will explore their artistic practice and critical discourse as part of this year’s festival. Twelve are from NYC and seven are from across the USA. It is the first time since Prelude’s inception that work from across the country will also be shown. The organizers feel it is important to show support in this difficult time to groundbreaking regional performance work, signaling that the metropolitan cultural supremacy of New York City is being challenged by experimental ensembles who have space, time, and close ties to the communities they work in. Artists from Austin, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco are being presented.

Inspired by Prelude curator Jay Wegman, the fest is employing a radically new format titled Chain Curating. The Segal Center chose three curators from New York. Each initial curator nominated just one artist and selected a fellow curator to do the same. This chain model produced twelve brilliant New York curators and twelve truly diverse New York artists/ensembles who have something to say. Companies from outside New York were curated by Jake Hooker.

All events are free and open to the public on the festival’s digital platforms. The itemized schedule of performances follows below. Fourteen pre-recorded pieces will be available for anytime viewing during the week of Prelude on www.preludenyc.org and the Segal Center YouTube Channel (https://tinyurl.com/5ur4ta3e) from October 25 (Mon) to October 31 (Sun). Five live streamed performances happening on each weekday of the festival week across www.preludenyc.org and The Segal Center’s long-standing digital collaborator www.howlround.com. 

Alongside the 19 performed pieces, the HowlRound website will host daily Segal Talks with the Prelude 2021 artists and curators, Panel Discussions with contemporary creators on conversations spanning criticism, Indigenous art, the resounding effects of the Seventies and more, as well as the much awaited Franky Award Ceremony. Schedule of talks /follows below.


stefa marin alarcon and Ita Segev (New York); Mariam Bazeed (New York); Arien Wilkerson/Tnmot Aztro (New York); Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (Philadelphia PA); Natalie Greene and Michelle Talgarow from Mugwumpin (San Francisco CA); Maura García (New York); Sibyl Kempson with 7 Daughters of Eve Theatre & Perf Co. (New York); Adil Mansoor, Nicole Shero, and Paul Kruse from Hatch Arts Collective (Pittsburgh PA); Carra Martinez (Live In America @ Fusebox Festival, Austin TX); LOUD Theatre (New Orleans LA); Maelstrom Collaborative Arts (Cleveland OH); A Host of People (Detroit MI); Damani Pompey with Magnus Works (New York); Isaac Pool (New York); Daisy Press/Voice Cult (New York); Alex Tatarsky (New York); Anh Vo (New York); Kiyan Williams (New York); and Declan Zhang (New York).


Sivan Battat, Malcolm Betts, David Bruin, Ty Defoe, Jesse Firestone, Alessandra Gómez, Nile Harris, Miranda Haymon, Jake Hooker, David Mendizábal, Lumi Tan, Jay Wegman, and Arien Wilkerson. 

Prelude 2021 is produced by Andie Lerner and Tanvi Shah. Festival web development provided by Gaurav Singh Nijjer. Digital Marketing is by Cactus Juice. The 2021 Prelude Festival is supported by the Lucille Lortel Foundation.


All these performances are streaming on-demand 10/25-31 on www.preludenyc.org 

Daisy Press / Voice Cult, “A Dripping Honeycomb and Other Holy Places: An evening of work-in-progress by Daisy Press” 

Singer, composer, and performer Daisy Press brings the work of the twelfth-century nun, poet, and visionary Saint Hildegard of Bingen to life. Drawing on traditions of music and healing that span centuries, Press’s music explores the thin places between the body and the soul, between heaven and earth. This special event includes the premiere of a work-in-progress music video, a collaboration with the legendary light and video artist Joshua White, as well as a live, virtual performance. Both selections are from Press’s forthcoming, untitled album which features her original interpretations of songs written by Hildegard. The performance will be followed by a wide-ranging conversation between Press and curator David Bruin who will discuss a number of topics, including Voice Cult, Press’s project that brings people together to sing Hildegard’s chants. With: Daisy Press, Joshua White. (This performance on-demand after livestream presentation 10/25 at 7:00 PM)

Anh Vo, “Anh Vo’s work-in-progress sharing” 

Anh explores pornography and queer relations, about being and form, about identity and abstraction, about history and its colonial reality. With: Anh Vo and Kristel Baldoz.

Arien Wilkerson / Tnmot Aztro, “Quinquennial” 

Foraging itself from out of the ashes of 5 years, Quinquennial is a digital performance piece that attempts to winnow my previous works, leading viewers towards the unforsaken and parallel realities of my life as a performance artist. With materiality from works created from 2017 till 2021 ending with a new solo choreographed specifically for the Prelude Festival. The work deals with how to see yourself, while aging within your body, and how your previous works allow you to process and re-canon the qualities within your personal artistic choices. The work is airy, dreamy, direct, sharp, cunning and esemplastic. Shape shifting from one section to the next this work was made in conjunction with ex-lover‘s, close friends, confidants, cutting B sides, B rolls and smaller never before seen video interludes. Quinquennial is a hive mind of the past 5 years seeped into an integrated form, a transitional statelessness for what’s to come. This piece is timely and chosen for the festival primarily because I wanted to have an opportunity to share a retrospective of my video creations and to calculate what is next for me as a performance artist that makes work that is streamed inside of different mediums such as film. With: Arien Wilkerson, Noah Michael Smith, Domenic Pellegrini, Hilton Plamer, Kevin Hernandez Rosa.

Damani Pompey (Magnus Works), “Second Skin: Imposter [FLUENCY]” 

The exploration of the second self. We will be exploring duality, the passing of time, and the physicality of introduction through our surfaced presentations of self. What does it take to practice self-control and challenge a self-centered perspective? Are we honoring the gift of life with honesty, integrity and keen awareness? In the current social climate, where we are choosing divisiveness to protect the security of self, “Second Skin: Imposter” will research these ideas through physical performance and dissection of space through an exploration of divine spirit and the feminine and masculine energies. Who are we really if not parts of each other? With: Damani Pompey, Issa Perez, Cain Coleman.

Declan Zhang, “How to Listen to Jazz (and Other Things I Did Not Learn in Music School)” 

A presentation-play about artists, art school and all the things art cannot do. Can artists really save the world? What good is a symphony when your city is underwater? And how did I go to music school for 4 years, but I still don’t understand jazz? HTLTJ is part music theory lesson, part rumination on the limitations of conservatory training, part call to action to artists of any kind to really consider what their art is doing for the world around them. With: Declan Zhang, Kyle Brenn.

Mariam Bazeed, “faggy faafi Cairo boy” 

A play set in Cairo and Purgatory, attempts to answer the question, “Can homophobia survive the grave?” MOHAMMAD, a queer Arab man, returns from his hella gay, emigré life in New York, to Cairo and his father in a coma, laid out silent and gray on a hospital cot, from whom he is closeted. by the time the two men exit the room, father and son will know it for a fact: the worst kind of ghosts are the ones that don’t come back.* featuring such characters as PORN TAPE and THE ANGEL G[abriel], “faggy faafi Cairo boy,” promises to try to make you laugh-cry. an excerpt of the play was performed once in 2019 as a staged reading, and never again since. it’s being shared in a digital festival cuz #Covid, and it’s the play I want to finish, and nothing finishes a play like a deadline can. *this line is borrowed from Hala Alyan’s poem, “The Worst Ghosts,” published in The Twenty-Ninth Year. With: Mariam Bazeed, Dina El Kamelr, Louis Sallan. (This performance on-demand after livestream presentation 10/29 at 7:00 PM)

stefa marin alarcon and Ita Segev, “The Q&Q: An open studio with stefa marin alarcon in conversation with Ita Segev” 

The Q&Q is an opportunity for artists whose work, disciplines, politics and relationships intertwine to get vulnerable with each other and the audience. This isn’t a Q & A. We aren’t looking for answers. We want to live in the loop together. Asking ourselves questions of how our processes relate to each other, what we want to see in the art & theater world, how we are creating spaces for others while healing ourselves. With: stefa marin alarcon, Ita Segev. (This performance on-demand after livestream presentation 10/26 at 7:00 PM)

Maura García, “Ancestor Dances” 

7 small dances for 7 new ancestors. When we think of the ones who came before us, sometimes we are speaking of the ancient distant ones and collective community teachings. But the “new ancestors” also shared teachings. “Ancestor Dances” is inspired by the tales, movements, habits and gestures of 7 of my recently deceased ancestors. The dance is a translation of their adventures, iconic advice and wisdom phrases into choreography. It is my way to remember them, to honor them and to share their stories with the world. Due to COVID-19 I found myself without access to space, dancers and performance venues. I began creating this work in a studio, but ended up finishing it at home, outside and in the woods. I realized the different and imperfect dynamic spaces also lent themselves to the different ancestors I was dancing – their differing personalities, backgrounds and experiences. The idea of furthering the expression of separate individuals and times through filters and angles occurred to me. All of these things pointed towards sharing work in a digital format. With: Maura García.

Sibyl Kempson (7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co.), “THE SECURELY CONFERRED, VOUCHSAFED KEEPSAKES OF MAERY S. 

The second work of a diptych by 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co. (the first being SASQUATCH RITUALS in 2019), THE SECURELY CONFERRED, VOUCHSAFED KEEPSAKES OF MAERY S. combines literary and dramatic narrative with eye-witness internet reportage into an experimental play that invents as many versions of the Frankenstein author Mary Shelley as there are definitions of the word “Gothic.” In this work, a string of financial, maternal, and familial misfortunes causes Shelley—referred to in this production as Maery S.—to spawn a monstrous creative expression, which takes on its own life and violent history. Maery can’t help falling in love with her Monster, only to see it “collected” and imprisoned by charitable funding at a mandatory artists’ residency.

A videographed accompaniment for the radio play released in January, featuring performances created entirely in isolation during the quarantine of the 2020/21 pandemic. A kaleidoscopic collage of theatrically-infused imagery inspired by early efforts toward the moving pictures, it’s a photo play alchemizing digital and analogue into a cut-and-paste thaumaturgy. With: Dee Dorcas Beasnael, Chris Giarmo, Brian Mendes, Sibyl Kempson, Crystal Wei, Oceana James, Victor Morales, Graham Reynolds, Sr. Giarmo, Amanda Villalobos, Dan Hurlin, Eva von Schweinitz, Madeline Best, Jay Silver, Sibyl Kempson, Alex Albanese/Fun City Films, Erica-Lynn Huberty, Sr. Morales, Leonie Bell, Rebecca Frank, Stephanie Anuwe, Stephanie Morales, Olivia O’Brien, Amanda Davis. (This performance on-demand after livestream presentation 10/28 at 7:00 PM)

Alex Tatarsky, “UNTITLED FREAKOUT: Studio Visit” 

“A hilarious, finely tuned absurdist” (Theater Jones) and “one of the most exciting and hilarious performance artists around” (ArtSpace), Alex Tatarsky offers peeks into various works in process, careening in their signature style between tightly scripted sequences and wildly improvised experiments. Inaugurating their residency at The Kitchen, this offering for Prelude revisits ongoing investigations into topics such as clowns, dirt, freedom, and falling apart. Created in an ongoing residency at The Kitchen. With: Alex Tatarsky. (This performance on-demand after livestream presentation 10/27 at 7:00 PM)

Kiyan Williams, “How Do You Properly Fry An American Flag (2019-ongoing)” 

Multidisciplinary artist Kiyan Williams manipulates and transforms American flags into charred and distorted objects. Reimagining the cookout as an intervention and reflection on this fraught American symbol, guests are invited to fry, barbecue, and season the flags using their own culinary techniques While cooking, participants are invited to reflect on their relationship to the American flag as a complex symbol of national identity and democracy. With: Kiyan Williams.

Isaac Pool, “Untitled Mood Lighting” 

Explores the limits of isolation and uninhibited joy, and the psychic consequences we face when we unmute the excesses that animate our will to thrive. Performers construct portals to expand droning bedroom depression into fantasies of spotlit validation. As their explorations grow, they find limits of ecstatic embodiment and push up against self-annihilation and imagined realities of public exposure. This project was initially developed in 2019 with many of the themes resonating in unexpected ways through the pandemic and this is an exciting moment to transmit from the performers’ imagined universes to bedrooms across the world. With:I saac Pool, Miriam Gabriel, Alexa Grae, Nina Guevara, Sahar Sepahdari-Dalai.

A Host of People, “Fire in the Theater!”
Since April 2020, Detroit ensemble A Host of People has been developing Fire in the Theater!, a new original multimedia, community-sourced theater piece investigating the freeness of speech in this divisive and digital age. Due to Covid-19, the company shifted its initial community development plan online, as ensemble members used a variety of methods to interview friends, families, colleagues, and strangers about their personal engagement with the US Constitution’s first amendment. AHOP has been meeting regularly online to share these interviews with each other, alongside occasional in-person workshops, beginning to generate material for the piece which we hope to open in Spring 2022. In this virtual studio visit, we will present some of our foundational research, clips of our work in rehearsal (including a Detroit Hustle built from the text of the first amendment!), and some clips of our performance repertoire and other in-process work that will offer a window into our way of making performance and our particular context of making it in Detroit. With: Sherrine Azab, Jake Hooker, Aja Dier, Corinne Donly, Amanda Ewing, Karilú Alarcón Forshee, Chantel Gaidica, Charlie Gaidica, Bethany Hedden, Morgan Hutson, Chris Jakob, Dorothy Melander-Dayton, Sam Watson.

Natalie Greene and Michelle Talgarow (Mugwumpin), “a·nam·knee·sis”
The remembering of things from a supposed previous existence. 

 – a recalling to mind: REMINISCENCE

 – preliminary case history of a medical or psychiatric patient 

Mugwumpin is an award-winning theater and performance ensemble nearing the end of 17 years of artmaking in San Francisco. Join Mugwumpin member Michelle Talgarow as she interviews Artistic Director Natalie Greene in a lively, boisterous and somewhat serious retrospective focusing on the company’s design-driven performance creations. Playfully transgressing traditional relationships of director-designer and audience-performer, Mugwumpin’s body of work ignites radical collaboration, empathy and curiosity. Featuring costume creatures designed by longtime collaborator Christine Crook, and glimpses of site-specific Covid-era guerilla video creations, Mugwumpin will share old & new snapshots of visually stunning work in a visceral experience designed to make you think, feel, and wonder. With: Michelle Talgarow, Natalie Greene, Gabe Armstrong.

Carra Martinez, “Live in America” 

Celebrating the power and potency of communities in performance, Live in America gathers artists and thinkers from across America’s distinctive cultural landscape to imagine festival as a justice-oriented space for enriching communities, uplifting histories, and building a shared sense of stewardship. Live in America is collaboratively powered by a diverse team of artists/curators/thinkers whose very lives have been directly shaped by the landscapes and social realities they champion. With: Carra Martinez.

Hatch Arts Collective – Adil Mansoor, Nicole Shero, and Paul Kruse, “Three family-centered ethnographic/documentary projects lead by a collective member — Amm(i)gone, Once Removed, and Untitled Family/Personal Archive Project” 

Amm(i)gone, an adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone, is an apology to and from a mother. This piece is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund project, co-commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh in partnership with The Theater Offensive in Boston, and NPN. Amm(i)gone is currently in Development and set to premiere in 2022.Initially for live performance, Once Removed is being produced as an audio play by Hatch Arts Collective under the direction of Adil with sound design by Aaron Landgraf. This documentary performance follows Paul’s growing up and coming out, against the story of his mom’s cousin, who we lost to AIDS in 1993. Nicole Shero will share some brief examples of work from a sprawling personal and family history project in its early stages. The project is probably about anticipatory grief, memory loss, severe guilt, and bad geocities websites. With: Adil Mansoor, Nicole Shero, Paul Kruse

LOUD Theater, “The Scarlet Rebellion” 

The Scarlet Rebellion is a full length, made for livestream performance that tells the story of a group of young TGNC folks who are so fed up with their government that they decide to lead a revolution. Set in a futuristic world near you, The Scarlet Rebellion was created and produced by the Spring 2020 LOUD Ensemble. With: Bea Polanco, Ross, Akilah Toney, Mwende Katwiwa.

Maelstrom Collaborative Arts, “Four Futures” 

Four Futures is a trans-media project exploring potential societies in a post-capitalist world. Inspired by the premise of Peter Frase’s book Four Futures, this project will imagine how the intersection of climate change and advances in automation will reshape the world in the coming centuries and explore the lives of people living in these vastly different landscapes. A team of 30 artists is collaborating on this work in two different formats—a digital experience complemented by an in-person gallery—to tell these sprawling stories using performance, comics, visual design, interactive fiction, and other interdisciplinary formats. With: Jeremy Paul, Meredith L. King, Jasmine Golphin, Emily Liptow, Rachel L. Mulholland.

Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, “a sneak peak of upcoming works”



These livestream programs will be available on
www.preludenyc.org and www.howlround.com

Monday October 25, 2021

12pm ET– Segal Talk: ‘Chain Curation: Thread 1’

With: David Bruin, Daisy Press, Nile Harris, Anh Vo, Malcolm Betts, Arien Wilkerson, and Damani Pompey

4:30pm ET– Panel Discussion: The New New York Theater Criticism

With: Bedatri D.Choudhury, Christian Lewis, Helen Shaw, Jose Solís, Juan Michael Porter II, Ran Xia, and Sarah Rose Leonard

7:00pm ETA Dripping Honeycomb and Other Holy Places: An evening of work-in-progress by Daisy Press 

Tuesday October 26, 2021

12pm ET– Segal Talk: ‘Chain Curation: Thread 2’

With: Miranda Haymon, Declan Zhang, Sivan Battat, Mariam Bazeed, David Mendizábal, stefa marin alarcon, Ty Defoe, and Maura García

4:30pm ET– Panel Discussion: Cattaneo & Marranca: New York Theater in the Past, Present and Future

With: Anne Cattaneo, and Bonnie Marranca

7:00pm ETThe Q&Q: An open studio with stefa marin alarcon in conversation with Ita Segev

Wednesday October 27, 2021

12pm ET– Segal Talk: ‘Chain Curation: Thread 3’

With: Jay Wegman, Sibyl Kempson, Lumi Tan, Alex Tatarsky, Alessandra Gómez, Kiyan Williams, Jesse Firestone and Isaac Pool

4:30pm ET– Panel Discussion: Contemporary Indigenous Performance

With: Rhiana Yazzie, Ryan “Opalanietet” Pierce, Vickie Ramirez and Ty Defoe

7:00pm ET– UNTITLED FREAKOUT: Studio Visit

Thursday October 28, 2021

12pm ET– Segal Talk: ‘Chain Curation: Pan-US Artists’

With: Sherrine Azab, Jake Hooker, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation’s Benjamin Camp, Maelstrom Collaborative Arts, Mugwumpin’s Natalie Greene, Hatch Arts Collective’s Adil Mansoor and Paul Kruse, Carra Martinez and indee mitchell

2:00pm ET– FRANKY Award Celebration- Recipient: Sade Lythcott

4:30pm ET– Panel Discussion: Then/Now: Considering 1970s New York City and Performance Today

With:Hillary Miller, Julia Foulkes, Karen Jaime, and Ryan Donovan


Friday October 29, 2021

12pm ET2023 Theater & Performance Summer Festival for the City Of New York: A panel with Artistic leaders from CUNY City University Stages.

3:00pm ET2023 Theater & Performance Summer Festival for the City Of New York: A panel with International Cultural Services, Centers and Institutions.

5:00pm ET2023 Theater & Performance Summer Festival for the City Of New York: A panel with PRELUDE Curators and New York artistic leaders.

7:00pm ETfaggy faafi Cairo boy

Saturday October 30, 2021

NO LIVE EVENTS, Audience encouraged to watch pre recorded content and livestreams from earlier in the festival. 

Sunday October 31, 2021

NO LIVE EVENTS, Audience encouraged to watch pre recorded content and livestreams from earlier in the festival. 


These panels are available on Howlround website www.howlround.com

Monday, October 25 at 4:30 pm

The New New York Theater Criticism

As we gather in theaters again, two new criticism projects will meet the resurgent New York theater on its own turf. How do they plan to change the field? Join us for a panel about new theater criticism with editors of the newly formed collectives “3Views” and the first announced members of the “DidTheyLikeIt” cohort, moderated by New York Magazine and Vulture theater critic Helen Shaw. With Sarah Rose Leonard & Jose Solís from www.3viewstheater.com and Bedatri D. Choudhury, Christian Lewis, Juan Michael Porter II, and Ran Xia from www.didtheylikeit.com. Panelists: Sarah Rose Leonard & Jose Solís from www.3viewstheater.com and Bedatri D. Choudhury, Christian Lewis, Juan Michael Porter II, and Ran Xia from “DidTheyLikeIt.” Moderator: Helen Shaw.

Tuesday October 26 at 4:30 pm

Cattaneo & Marranca: New York Theater in the Past, Present and Future

Join us for a conversation with authors Anne Cattaneo (The Art of Dramaturgy​, Yale University Press, 2021) and Bonnie Marranca (Timelines: writings and conversations, PAJ Publications, 2021), hosted by Frank Hentschker. ​Drawing on both New York and international perspectives, these new books explore the complexities of making theater and thinking about theater. Panelists: Anne Cattaneo (The Art of Dramaturgy​, Yale University Press, 2021) and Bonnie Marranca (Timelines: writings and conversations, PAJ Publications, 2021). Host: Frank Hentschker

Wednesday, October 27 at 4:30 pm
Contemporary Indigenous Performance

Join us for a panel investigating and exploring the complexities of how indigenous artists create performance, dance, music and theater in the United States. With Rhiana Yazzie, Vickie Ramirez and Opalanietet Pierce (moderator). Panelists: Rhiana Yazzie and Vickie Ramirez. Moderator: Opalanietet Pierce

Thursday October 28 at 4:30 pm

Then/Now: Considering 1970s New York City and Performance Today

Join us for a panel investigating how New York performance reacted to the crisis of the Seventies. How did it shape the landscape of contemporary work, what we should remember, and what might help us to create sense for the Time after Corona we are entering now? With Karen Jaime, Julia Foulkes and Ryan Donovan. Moderated by Hillary Miller. Panelists: Karen Jaime, Julia Foulkes and Ryan Donovan. Moderator: Hillary Miller.

Friday October 29

2023 Theater & Performance Summer Festival for the City Of New York


Join us for a panel with representatives from Cultural Institutes who bring global theater to New York City. Invitees are: The French Cultural Services, The Goethe Institut, Japan Society, Asia Society, Italian Cultural Services, The British Council, and others… The panel will explore questions around the creation of a global New York Theater and Performance Festival in the summer of 2023: How should such a festival look? Who would be and who should be the audiences? How can all five NYC boroughs be involved? What roles can New York City parks and parking lots play?


Join us for a panel with artistic leaders from CUNY City University Stages: Baruch College, Hunter College, City College, Queens College, BMCC, Lehman College, Brooklyn College, Staten Island, and others… The panel will explore questions around the creation a global New York Theater and Performance Festival in the summer of 2023: How should such a festival look? Who would be and who should be the audiences? How can CUNY Stages in all five NYC boroughs be involved? What role can NYC parks play?


Join us for a panel with PRELUDE Curators and artistic leaders from the New York City theater and performance scene. The panel will explore questions around the creation of a global New York Theater and Performance Festival in the summer of 2023: How should such a festival look? Who would be and who should be the audiences? How can existing New York stages be involved? What role can NYC parks play? 


Since 2003, the annual Prelude Festival has given audiences a first look at new work and ideas by groundbreaking theater and performance artists based in New York City. Prelude has presented the work of more than three hundred artists, including Annie Dorsen, Jackie Sibbles Drury, Half Straddle, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Young Jean Lee, Taylor Mac, and Nature Theater of Oklahoma, alongside legendary figures such as Richard Foreman, Marina Abramović, the Living Theatre, and many more.

ABOUT THE MARTIN E. Segal Theatre Center

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is a nonprofit center for theater, dance, and film affiliated with CUNY’s PhD program in theater. The Center’s mission is to bridge the gap between academia and the professional performing arts communities both within the United States and internationally.


Since March 2020 the series featured over 150 talks with 150 artists from 50 countries. New York, US, and international theater artists, curators, researchers, and academics will talk daily during the week for one hour with Segal Center’s director, Frank Hentschker, about life and art in the Time of Corona and speak about challenges, sorrows, and hopes for the new Weltzustand— the State of the World. The series focuses on Theater, Performance and The Political, highlighting the Segal Center’s 2023 New York International Festival of the Arts Project and the Center’s Public Park Project. 


Named in honor of Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Executive Director and PRELUDE founder Dr. Frank Hentschker, the FRANKY Award was created to recognize an artist who has made a long-term, extraordinary impact on contemporary theater and performance in New York City.