What is the problem People’s Theatre Project is working to address?
For too long, immigrants and people of color have been sold a story that they have little value in our society and their voices don't matter. We are facing some of the greatest challenges our world has ever seen. Our country is in need of deeper civic engagement in our communities, yet immigrants and people of color do not see themselves represented in the American dream and many feel disempowered to make a difference.
How does People’s Theatre Project work to address this problem?
We aim to flip that narrative by offering immigrants and people of color the space to reimagine a just society and engage community stakeholders in a productive dialogue.
Is People’s Theatre Project a social justice organization?
Yes! Social Justice is both our operating framework and our end destination. As a long-term goal, we define Social Justice as a state of equitable representation and political power in which systems work for all people, in particular those who are marginalized by discrimination based on race, gender, economics, sexual orientation, language, and ability.
How does the “theatre” factor in?
Throughout history and across cultures, theatre has been used to inspire and move social justice forward, and we are carrying on that important tradition. The theatre is our passion and serves as an accessible and exciting vehicle (like a big colorful party bus!) to get us to our end goal. Making theatre is an act of joyful resistance and it belongs to the people! Our rehearsal rooms and stages are brave spaces full of creative possibilities where we can build community, experiment with new ideas, and activate leadership.
What kind of theatre do you do?
Theatre is a collaborative art form that uses performers to communicate an experience before a live audience. We create devised work, which is ensemble-based theatre where the material originates from a collaborative process.
Who is your target audience? Why Washington Heights and Inwood?
Our founder and Executive Director, Mino Lora, is a Dominican immigrant and theatre artist who has dedicated her life to social justice. Inherently, our target audience is immigrants and people of color with a primary focus on the Latine community. We focus on Washington Heights and Inwood because this community serves as an important political and cultural hub for Dominicans and other communities of color.
What does this look like in practice? What programs do you offer?
Our core belief is that the stories of Latine, Black, and immigrant communities must be told by immigrants themselves. The PTP Company creates high-quality, accessible theatre for these communities and their artists, and brings the issues and stories that impact their everyday lives center stage.
We transform and enrich the spaces where young people already are by partnering with local K-12 schools and our community partners. There, we offer semester and year-long theatre-based curriculum in weekly sessions that lead participants through experiential learning projects.
After school and on weekends, we operate the PTP Academy at the NoMAA Studios at the United Palace Theater that allow us to go deeper into the creative work with our participants and be a constant ongoing presence in their lives.
How do the artistic and education programs connect?
People's Theatre Project’s core programs—the PTP Company, the PTP Academy, and PTP Partnerships—are designed to work together as an ongoing programmatic cycle. Together, PTP participants, artists, and audiences deepen their sense of power and strengthen their connection to community, reimagining and building a more equitable world.