Start making sense.
The Prelude Festival is the annual flagship event of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
Since 2003, Prelude has provided a stage for more than 300 artists, critics, activists, and producers at the forefront of contemporary New York City theatre, dance, interdisciplinary, and mediatized performance.
In a first, Prelude 2021 is also hosting artists from 7 states across the US to explore their artistic practice and critical discourse.
digital. free. open to the public.
Monday, Oct 25 - Sunday, Oct 31
Presented by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center
Supported by Lucille Lortel Foundation
"The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY in New York City is proud to present ‘Prelude 2021: Start Making Sense!’
Inspired by rock musician Jehnny Beth’s battle cry, Prelude ’21 investigates what it means to create theatre and performance in this phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. If we have learned anything this past year, it is that we have to question everything. That we must listen carefully, and that we must look hard to find radical new answers. It is not just important what we present, but why we present it, how we produce it, and for whom.
Inspired by Prelude curator Jay Wegman, we’re exploring a radically new format titled ‘Chain Curating’. We at the Segal Center chose 3 curators from New York. Each initial curator nominated just one artist – and selected a fellow curator to do the same. This chain model has provided us with 12 brilliant New York curators and 12 truly diverse New York artists/ensembles who have something to say.
Unfortunately, the Graduate Center at CUNY is still closed for public programs. Taking advantage of our online presence, we have invited – for the first time since Prelude’s inception and with help of a pan-US curator – seven US theatre and performance companies to explore their artistic practice and critical discourse as part of this year’s festival. Digitally hosting artists from Austin, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco is our small way of showing support in this difficult time to groundbreaking regional performance work, signaling that the metropolitan cultural supremacy of New York City is being challenged successfully by experimental ensembles who have space, time, and close ties to the communities they work in.
The Prelude Festival is the annual flagship event of the Segal Center, and has been providing a safe and inclusive space for works-in-progress by more than 300 artists, critics, activists, and producers at the forefront of contemporary New York City theatre, dance, interdisciplinary, and mediatized performance since 2003. We can’t wait for the questions Prelude 2021’s participating artists – from New York and across the US – will pose to us."
Prelude Founder and Segal Centre Director
What's on at Prelude Festival 2021
Pre-recorded performances available to watch till Sunday, 31st October and live performances streamed daily at 7pm Eastern on Prelude Website
Mon-Thurs, 12pm Eastern onwards
Livestreamed on Prelude Website
Mon-Fri, 4:30pm ET onwards
Livestreamed on Prelude Website
Prelude Curators and New York Artistic Leaders
2023 Theater & Performance Summer Festival for the City Of New York: Join us for a panel with Prelude Festival 2021 curators and artistic leaders from the New York City theatre and performance scene.
International Cultural Services, Centers and Institutions in New York
2023 Theater & Performance Summer Festival for the City Of New York: Join us for a panel with representatives from cultural institutes who bring global theatre to New York City.
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?
Contemporary Indigenous Performance
Join us for a panel investigating and exploring the complexities of how indigenous artists create performance, dance, music and theatre in the United States.
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 and what might help us to create sense for the time after Corona we are entering now?
Cattaneo & Marranca: New York Theatre in the Past, Present and Future
In conversation with authors Anne Cattaneo and Bonnie Marranca whose new books explore the complexities of making theatre and thinking about theatre.
Support PRELUDE with a donation
If you would like to support PRELUDE's current and future editions, please consider making a donation to The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center. We are a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization and all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.