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CollideOscope Repertory Theatre Company Brings Racial Justice and Healing to the Stage

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The mission of the CollideOscope Repertory Theatre Company is to advance racial justice and healing through performance.

image of Free Play poster

NYU Steinhardt’s master’s in drama therapy program has launched a new theatre company named CollideOscope Repertory Theatre Company (CRTC), whose mission is to advance racial justice and healing through performance. Led by artistic director and NYU Drama Therapy alum Adam Stevens, CRTC  kicked off its first season in October with a virtual production by award-winning playwright Idris Goodwin titled, Free Play: Scripts Towards an Anti-Racist Tomorrow. The production included five short plays for multi-generational audiences to spark conversations about race in America. 

“We started CollideOscope Repertory Theatre Company to create a space of belonging for students, alums, and artists who identify as Black, indigenous, and/or people of color,” said Nisha Sajnani, director of the drama therapy program at NYU Steinhardt.

“Right now, the country is facing a widespread racial reckoning. It’s important that we maintain this momentum in a way that restores and supports those involved. We made the decision to begin our first-ever production with Goodwin’s plays because they not only center Black lives, but they give us room to actively reflect on how systemic racism is expressed across generations and in our own homes, challenge what it means to be in solidarity, and offer examples of joy alongside conflict,” she said.

Faculty Nisha Sajnani

We started CollideOscope Repertory Theatre Company to create a space of belonging for students, alums, and artists who identify as Black, indigenous, and/or people of color,”

Nisha Sajnani, associate professor and director, NYU Program in Drama Therapy and Theatre & Health Lab

Free Play included three new works and two of Goodwin’s previously produced works. The new works included Water Gun Song about a parent having to explain to a child why a water gun isn’t simply a toy; Act Free in which three children wrestle with the definition of freedom, and Nothing Rhymes With Juneteenth in which a child and parent compose a rap for a school presentation. 

Portrait of Adam Stevens

These five short plays allow us the space to laugh, to talk, to cry, to scream, to be creative, and most importantly, the space to be together."

Adam Stevens, artistic director, Free Play

Stevens added that Goodwin's work speaks directly to contemporary Black narratives.

"These five short plays allow us the space to laugh, to talk, to cry, to scream, to be creative, and most importantly, the space to be together," he said.

The virtual production at NYU was seen by over 600 audience members who were able to participate in the conversation in ways made possible through a remote platform. Goodwin will host a conversation with Adam Stevens, Nisha Sajnani, and theatre companies from across the country on the impact of Free Play as part of a TYA/USA Summit on emerging artistic practices in virtual arts programming. 

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