COMMUNITY EDUCATION & EMPOWERMENT

BIG GREEN THEATER

In collaboration with The Bushwick Starr, Superhero Clubhouse brings environmental education to elementary students through after-school playwriting programs. Kids write plays about local ecology, climate change, and environmental justice, then see their work professionally produced for audiences of their peers and families.

Photographs by Sue Kessler

LEARN MORE ABOUT BGT

Big Green Theater (BGT) is a program we developed in partnership with The Bushwick Starr that combines environmental education with an annual green theater festival. Fourth-, Fifth-, and Sixth-grade students from Bushwick schools explore environmental topics with guest experts, and then are guided in writing original eco-plays. Finished plays are fully realized and professionally produced at The Bushwick Starr Theater during Earth Week, featuring sustainable and efficient design.

THE PROGRAM

JANUARY-FEBRUARY
Each week, students are introduced to “eco-experts” who give interactive presentations on specific environmental topics. We also go on field trips to laboratories and ecological institutions. Teaching Artists and volunteers guide students in writing rough drafts of plays inspired by the scientific research.

FEBRUARY-MARCH
Each student selects one of their rough drafts to develop and eventually see performed. Students learn about the rewriting process, engage in design workshops, and write songs to include in their plays. The classroom portion of the program culminates in a reading of students’ final drafts, read by the adult actors who will be performing them.

APRIL
An intensive four-week rehearsal process begins at The Bushwick Starr with a team of professional artists, and the theater is transformed utilizing ecological design practices. At the end of the month, free school and public performances are offered for the student plays, their families, teachers, peers, and community. The program ends with a reflection party, where student playwrights get a chance to respond to the process and performances.

PRODUCTION HISTORY

2017: Street Scene (plays by students from P.S. 239 & P.S. 075)
2016: Summit of Species (plays by students from P.S. 075 & P.S. 305)
2015: The Island (plays by students from P.S. 123 & P.S. 075)
2014: The Balien Museum of Second Earth (plays by students from P.S. 123)
2013: Hurricane (plays by students from P.S. 123)
2012: Clean Up the Park (plays by students from P.S. 123)
2011: Of Oysters, Worms and Cormorants (plays by students from Still Waters in a Storm)
PRODUCTION TEAM HISTORY

Jeremy Pickard, director
Noel Joseph Allain, producer
Sue Kessler, producer
Julia May Jonas, Nate Weida, Wesley Zurick, composers
Michael Minahan & Preesa Adeline Bullington,  set/prop/costume design
Jay Maury, lighting design
Almeda Beynon, Eben Hoffer, Sarah Hughes, Jay Maury, sound designers
Ann Marie Dorr, Chip Rogers, Poe Saegusa, Lico Whitfield, production managers
Nic AdamsCarly Erickson, Sarah Hughes, Rosie Kolbo, Keith Medelis, Harry Poster, Hanako Rodriguez, stage managers
Lanxing FuCassiope Sydoriak, assistant stage managers
John Budge, documentation
Maria Portman Kelly, associate producer (2015-16), assistant production & stage manager (2014), production manager (2013), stage manager (2012)
Production assistants: Anna Crouch, Isobel Hutton, Mei Mei Pollitt, David Schacht, Julia Schonberg, Charles Quittner, & James Zeebooker
PAST PERFORMERS

Nanda Abella, Maki Borden, Mia Ellis, Ava Eisenson, Jon Erdman, Danny Gardner, Katherine George, Sam Gonzalez, Eben Hoffer, Tia James*, Corey Johnson, Flako Jimenez, Layla Khoshnoudi, Dan Lawrence*, Melissa Mahoney, Jonathan Martin*, Penny Middleton, Esau Mora, Beethoven Oden, Katey Parker, Kat Pena, Vanessa Pereda-Felix, Flor De Liz Perez, Mauricio Pita, Vicki Rodriguez, Wes Ruiz, Monica Santana, Isabella Sazak, Tina Thurman, Allan Washington*, Sam West, Paul Wyatt, Anne Zager, Wesley Zurick*

*Appeared courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

CLASSROOM TEAM

Jeremy Pickard, lead teaching artist (2011-18)
Amina Henry, lead teaching artist (2018)
Nissy Aya, lead teaching artist (2017)
Isabella Sazak, lead teaching artist (2016)
Maria Portman Kelly, lead teaching artist (2011)
Lanxing Fu, assistant lead teaching artist (2016-18)
Vanessa Pereda-Felix, assistant lead teaching artist (2016-18)
Monica Palmieri, assistant lead teaching artist (2017)
Flako Modesto Jimenez, assistant teaching artist (2015-17)
Claire Moodey, assistant teaching artist (2015)
PAST ECO-EXPERTS & FIELD TRIPS

Eco-Experts:
Katherine Alfredo & Tess Russo (The Water Center at Columbia University)
Chloe Bass & Lee Mandell (Boswyck Farms)
Dave Chameides (“Sustainable Dave”)
Nicole Davi, Monica Molina, Dorothy Peteet (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)
David Frank (NYU Environmental Studies)
Ellie Irons (Next Epoch Seed Library)
Jennifer Jacquet (NYU Environmental Studies)
Zara L’Heureux (Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Columbia University)
Kate Marvel (NASA GISS)
Jame McCray (Ecologist & sea turtle expert)
Lauren Norman (NY Harbor School)
Ana Orozco (UPROSE)
Nada Petrovic, Courtney St. John & Katherine Fox Thompson (Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Columbia University)
Sarah Pidgeon (Solar One)
Shawn Shafner (POOP Project)
Dan Tainow (Lower East Side Ecology Center)

Field Trips:
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Billion Oyster Project/NY Harbor School
American Museum of Natural History
NY Aquarium
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility

HISTORY

Coming soon!

THE LIVING STAGE NYC

THE LIVING STAGE combines horticulture, theatrical design, and community engagement to create recyclable, biodegradable, biodiverse, and edible performance spaces. The NYC version, led by Superhero Clubhouse in partnership with University Settlement and eco-scenographer Tanja Beer, will feature a lush living stage situated amidst the urban landscape of the Lower East Side. Created by local seniors and students, the space is then inhabited by performances made for and by the community.

Photographs by Dylan River Lopez

2018 SUMMER FESTIVAL