Manhattan’s Public Theater Utilizes Brooklynites In Interactive Theater Initiative

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Brooklynites will have their chance to ‘tread the boards’ this summer alongside professional actors in The Public Theater’s musical production of “Hercules” in Central Park.

The theater announced yesterday that 61 Brooklyn residents have been cast in the production through its Public Works initiative. 

Public Works is the national and international initiative of The Public Theater that seeks to invite the people of New York in as creators of theater, not just spectators. The initiative intermixes professional artists and community members and encourages the latter group to take classes, attend performances, and join in the creation of theater.

The Public Theater in Manhattan’s East Village. Photo from Google maps.

The theater has partnered with the Brownsville Recreation Center, which offers extensive resources for youth and seniors, and Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, which provides comprehensive social services to children and adults. The partnerships will hopefully aid in achieving the goal of a participatory theater. 

“Public Works is only one part of what we do, but it fits so perfectly with what we are trying to accomplish in the neighborhood,” said Center for Family Life in Sunset Park Deputy Director Hélène Onserud. “Public Works recognizes that the fabric of a community is meaningful relationships, and what Public Works does really well is creating occasions for meaningful relationships to happen.”

Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public Theater prides itself on being of and by the people and seeks to engage the public, on and off stage, with relevant ideas on social issues. The institution has long operated on the notion that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Artist-driven, it strives for inclusivity and equity.  

“The heart of Public Works is our partnerships with community organizations across the city,” said Laurie Woolery, Director of Public Works. “We are so honored that the Hercules cast includes people from Staten Island to the North Bronx, all joining together in Central Park to make magnificent, soulful and excellent art.”  

Hercules, based on the Disney film, will run for seven nights for free at The Delacorte Theater. 

Due to the popularity of the Public Works program and the limited number of performances; The Public has had to change their free ticket distribution method. There will be an Advance Digital Lottery and a Daily In-Person Standby Lottery. 

The theatrical production of  Hercules is running from Aug. 31-Sept. 8 at The Delacorte Theater off of 80th street on the southwest corner of the Great Lawn in Central Park. To get on the daily ticket lottery for the show click here. 

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