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ALL ARTS’ The First Twenty Initiative Announces Fall Lineup Featuring Three New Specials Exploring How 2000-2020 Forever Changed Irish American, Native American and Asian American Culture and Consciousness

Friday, August 27, 2021 | SHARE

Projects include Afterwards by playwright Enda Walsh for Irish Arts Center, Ma’s House from Native American visual artist Jeremy Dennis and 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting from Ralph Peña and the Ma-Yi Theater Company

 

The First Twenty, a new content initiative from ALL ARTS uncovering the ways that the first two decades of the 21st century have impacted American art, culture and the collective consciousness, premieres three original specials this fall. The First Twenty: Afterwards, a compelling monologue by award-winning playwright Enda Walsh (“Lazarus,” “Sing Street”) in partnership with Irish Arts Center, premieres on September 7. The second offering, The First Twenty: Ma’s House, an exploration of the evolution of Native American art from photographer and member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation Jeremy Dennis, will debut October 11 in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting, a revealing documentary from Ralph Peña and the Ma-Yi Theater Company featuring interviews with Tony winner David Henry Hwang and playwright, director and filmmaker Young Jean Lee, premieres in November. All three specials will stream nationwide on the ALL ARTS app and AllArts.org/TheFirstTwenty, and premiere in the New York Metro area on the ALL ARTS TV channel (channel lineup).

“Our mission with The First Twenty initiative is to contemplate and investigate contemporary society and its challenges through alternative lenses,” said James King, Artistic Director of ALL ARTS. “We are inviting artists from traditionally underserved communities to create exciting new content that illuminates their unique cultures and perspectives. This, in turn, breaks down barriers many members of those communities have with the arts by offering entry points for engagement that feel personal and reflect their perspective on American culture.”

The First Twenty: Afterwards

Premieres Tuesday, September 7 at 8 p.m. on ALL ARTS

Written and directed by Enda Walsh, an award-winning playwright from North Dublin (“Lazarus,” in collaboration with David Bowie, “Sing Street”) in partnership with Irish Arts Center, Afterwards asks the question, “From now on, everything will be different—but how?” The15-minute monologue, sensitively performed by New York-based Irish actor Sarah Street (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), is an emotional look at how we absorb our past and how – even when our own memories become fragmented – the past is neither bad nor good, but utterly part of us. Based in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, Irish Arts Center is a national and international home for the Irish and Irish American community, the evolving global Diaspora and culturally engaged citizens from anywhere and everywhere.

The First Twenty: Ma’s House

Premieres on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Monday, October 11 at 8 p.m. on ALL ARTS

Jeremy Dennis is a contemporary fine art photographer and member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation whose work explores indigenous identity, assimilation and tradition. In this verité short doc, he discusses the evolution of Native American art and building Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio, an artist retreat and communal art space on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, N.Y., that will provide a safe space for free creativity and healing. The center, which will include a residency for BIPOC artists, an art studio and a library, will host an array of art and history-based programs for tribe members and the broader local community.

The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting

Premieres Tuesday, November 9 at 8 p.m. on ALL ARTS

Created by Ralph Peña, Producing Artistic Director of the Ma-Yi Theater Company, this 30-minute documentary film showcases the evolution of the Asian American playwright over the last 20 years, taking a close look at the shift in how Asian American plays are broadly perceived, as well as the widening scope of subjects tackled by Asian American writers that move far beyond identity politics. Interviewees include theater luminaries: Tony, OBIE and Grammy Award winner and Pulitzer Prize in Drama Finalist David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly,” “Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida,” “Tarzan,” the Broadway musical); playwright, director and filmmaker Young Jean Lee, winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards and a PEN Literary Award, who was the first Asian American female playwright to have a play produced on Broadway; playwright Mike Lew (“tiny father,” “Teenage Dick”), a Guggenheim Fellow and Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Ma-Yi; playwright Rehana Lew Mirza (“A People’s Guide to History in the Time of Here and Now,” “Soldier X”), a Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Ma-Yi; playwright Lauren Yee (“Cambodian Rock Band,” “The Great Leap”); and playwright and director Chay Yew (“Porcelain,” “A Language of Their Own”).

The First Twenty launched in May on ALL ARTS with Michael Mwenso Honors George Floyd (now streaming), a powerful concert homage featuring some of today’s greatest Black artists, on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s killing. Curated by James King, the initiative invites artists from diverse and traditionally underrepresented communities to create original content that reflects their insights, discoveries and hopes after the quantum shifts of the last 20 years. The First Twenty provides artists across multiple disciplines the opportunity to share their lived experiences, including how the creation and consumption of art has changed. Additional new programming is planned for 2022. The works will be augmented by a curated playlist of related public media content on the ALL ARTS app and website.

The First Twenty: Afterwards is an Irish Arts Center production. Enda Walsh is director and writer. Performed by Sarah Street. Edit, Sound and Post-Production by Jack Phelan. Tom Rowley is Director of Photography. For Irish Arts Center: Rachael Gilkey is Producer and Aidan Connolly is Executive Director.

The First Twenty: Ma’s House is directed and written by Jeremy Dennis, who is also director of photography. Darren Peister is editor.

The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting is a Ma-Yi Theater Company production. Ralph B. Peña is writer and director. Featuring David Henry Hwang, Michael Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza, Qui Nguyen, Lloyd Suh, Lauren Yee, and Chay Yew. Francisco Aliwalas is Director of Photography and Editor. Original Music by Fabian Obispo. Jakob Carter is Associate Producer.

For ALL ARTS: Anna Campbell is Multimedia Producer. Kristy Geslain and Joe Harrell are Executive Producers. James King is Artistic Director. Diane Masciale and Neal Shapiro are Executives in Charge.

Leadership support for ALL ARTS is generously provided by Jody and John Arnhold and the Arnhold Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, The Jerome L. Greene Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Anderson Family Fund, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

About ALL ARTS

ALL ARTS is breaking new ground as the premier destination for inspiration, creativity and art of all forms. This New York Emmy-winning arts and culture hub is created by The WNET Group, the parent company of New York’s PBS stations. With the aim of being accessible to viewers everywhere, ALL ARTS’ Webby-nominated programming – from digital shorts to feature films – is available online nationwide through allarts.org, the free ALL ARTS app on all major streaming platforms and @AllArtsTV on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. New York area TV viewers can also watch the 24/7 broadcast channel. For all the ways to watch, visit allarts.org/everywhere.

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  • ALL ARTS Artistic Director James King, Curator of The First Twenty Initiative. Photo Credit: Massimo Iacoboni.

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  • Actor Sarah Street Photo Credit: Jeffrey Hornstein

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  • Sarah Street on stage in "The First Twenty: Afterwards" Photo Credit: Mac Smith

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  • Sarah Street in "The First Twenty: Afterwards" Photo Credit: Mac Smith

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  • Sarah Street in "The First Twenty: Afterwards" Photo Credit: Mac Smith

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  • Scrapbook page featuring photos of Ma with family Courtesy of Jeremy Dennis

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  • Frontside of Ma's House Courtesy of Jeremy Dennis

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  • Frontside of Ma's House with Shinnecock tribal members and volunteers Courtesy of Jeremy Dennis

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  • Artist Jeremy Dennis Photo Credit: Angela Pham

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  • Lauren Yee during her interview for "The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting" Photo Credit: Francisco Aliwalas

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  • Michael Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza during their interview for "The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting" Photo Credit: Francisco Aliwalas

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  • David Henry Hwang during his interview for "The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting" Photo Credit: Francisco Aliwalas

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  • Qui Nguyen during his interview for "The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting" Photo Credit: Francisco Aliwalas

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  • Lloyd Suh during his interview for "The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting" Photo Credit: Francisco Aliwalas

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  • Chay Yew during his interview for "The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting" Photo Credit: Francisco Aliwalas

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