From Palestine to Brooklyn, A Multi-Disciplinary Free Production Brings Theater and Storytelling to Downtown Brooklyn.
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) and DUMBO Improvement District (Dumbo) present Eyes Up Here Production’s A Skate Play at Golconda Skatepark in Downtown Brooklyn, October 4-10. One of the projects funded through the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund, under New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), A Skate Play is a multidisciplinary production that takes place in skate parks with skateboarders and actors performing in tandem to integrate skate choreography with theatrical dialogue and storytelling in underserved communities.
A Skate Play is inspired by Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novella that tells the story of Jonathan, a young, visionary, and adventurous seagull, impassioned by the art of flight. Jonathan is up against all odds – his community banishes him, and he goes on a powerful journey to learn the meaning of freedom, flight, and limitlessness. A fable about persisting in our beliefs, even if they run contrary to the norms of society, skateboarders represent the flight of the birds, engaging proficient skaters from the community and local children through an open and public rehearsal process. Spectators will experience the performance through individual wireless headphones to amplify a soundscape of live music, dialogue, and skating.
Located under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Golconda Park is at the intersection of neighborhoods that were disconnected by the construction of Robert Moses era infrastructure – highlighting the missions of both the DRI and the production to unite and bring programming to underserved neighborhoods. With additional support from The Theater Development Fund, A Skate Play will be performed for local schools, offering an enriching and multi-sensory opportunity for youth to explore their imaginations and thrive physically, emotionally, and socially.
“The Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund is a perfect match for A Skate Play as a core part of our work is to activate skateparks as sites of social, artistic and educational engagement,” explains Creator/Director Noelle Ghoussaini, Producer Nilou Safinya and Associate Producer Esther Chang. “With this grant, we will highlight the area as a cultural hub, create educational opportunities for local youth and will provide free, accessible artistic programming for the local community. A Skate Play will connect diverse communities across the boundaries of location, language, age, sport, and theatre in a public space – serving the DRI vision of activating “vibrant neighborhoods where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work, and raise a family.”
“Skate parks have long served as gathering places, and this production will bring our community together through dynamic theatrical performance,” said Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “Skate Play not only provides an opportunity for actors and skateboarders to combine their talents, but also aims to inspire a new generation to explore their passions. We are also excited to shine a light on Golconda skate park, a vital shared space in the heart of our neighborhood.”
Originally workshopped at McCarren Park in 2013, A Skate Play had its world premiere at Skateqilya Skatepark in Jayyous, Palestine in 2018, and will host translated workshops and performances in Jordan and Syria over the next two years.
A Skate Play is one of twelve new public art and performance projects and five accessibility upgrades to cultural venues that are taking place throughout the greater Downtown Brooklyn area as part of the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund led by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and DUMBO Improvement District. The fund was one of the projects selected as part of New York State’s $10 million Downtown Brooklyn Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which seeks to connect and transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities.
ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN + DUMBO ART FUND
The Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund, a partnership of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Dumbo Improvement District, provides grants for eligible public art, performance, and accessibility projects that serve to enhance public space, increase access to cultural programming, and connect the neighborhoods of the Downtown Brooklyn area. Funding for these transformative grants has been provided by New York State through its Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Part of New York State’s approach to create vibrant neighborhoods and boost local economies, DRI investments are a crucial part of the State’s strategy to revitalize communities.