Signature Theatre at Pershing Square Signature Center in NYC will welcome back audiences this summer with a new piece by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and Miranda Haymon. The Watering Hole will run June 22–July 25.
The immersive theatrical project moves audiences through the Off-Broadway institution via a series of 10 installations inspired in part from water itself as they flow from all directions into a larger whole. The pieces explore how the Off-Broadway institution can serve artists and communities after the pandemic’s shuttering of theatres and a year of uprisings for racial justice.
Joining Nottage and Haymon to re-activate the Center’s many spaces—its elevator, stairs, stages, lobby, backstage, green rooms, and more—include playwright Christina Anderson; playwright Matt Barbot; costume designer Montana Levi Blanco; theatre director and projections designer Stefania Bulbarella; lighting designer Amith Chandrashaker; performer, choreographer, director, playwright, and educator nicHi douglas; creative producer and dramaturg Iyvon E.; composer, sound design artist, and musician Justin Ellington; scenic and production designer Emmie Finckel; actor, playwright, sculptor, painter, performer, poet, and activist Vanessa German; autobiographical performer Ryan J. Haddad; playwright Phillip Howze; scenic designer Riccardo Hernández; playwright Haruna Lee; Campbell Silverstein, who serves as associate director on the project; playwright Charly Evon Simpson; and Navajo playwright, filmmaker, director, performer, and producer Rhiana Yazzie.
“Everyone has ways they have not been known to the industry, and they are working on this piece in that way,” says Haymon. “We really wanted to highlight that aspirational space—not just for how we want to collaborate within the theatre landscape, but also how we bring our full selves to the watering hole, and what that means as artists of color and people generating new work.“
“The inspiration and organizing principle of The Watering Hole came about when we, as a collective, began talking about what Signature means to us, and in particular that lobby—how important that communal space has been to us over the years,” adds Nottage. “What does it mean to have lost that nexus point that gives us the opportunity to gather and see disparate people coming together?”
The Watering Hole, part of SigSpace, culminates Nottage’s residency at the Signature, following runs of her plays Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine, and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark in earlier seasons.
The installation will be open to the public with staggered entry in physically distanced groups of four with start times between 11:30 AM–8 PM on weekends and between 7–8 PM on weekdays, with additional 3:15–4:15 PM times weekdays during the second week. The experience takes approximately 80 minutes to walk through. A digital presentation of the installations is planned for the final weeks of the run.
Weekday viewings Tuesday through Thursday will be ticketed on a choose-what-you-pay basis. A choose-what-you-pay option will be available for the first block of tickets Friday–Sunday, as well as $25 tickets in the afternoon and $35 tickets in the evening. Tickets go on sale to the general public May 27.
As of now, Signature Theatre will require physical distancing and masks to keep audiences and staff safe, with reduced capacity limited to 100 guests in the building at any given time. Plans are subject to change as CDC, state, and city guidelines develop. The Off-Broadway venue is not planning to require proof of vaccination and/or negative test results for guests.
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