For many, the Great White Way offers only a limited representation for people of color. In response to that imbalance, David Mendizábal, Jonathan McCrory, Deadria Harrington and Eric Lockley formed The Movement Theatre Company. In the process of creating their own opportunities in theatre, they have also taken on the ambitious role of reimagining theater through several innovative programs. One of their most popular initiatives, TMTC Harlem Nights, features free theatrical works in nontraditional spaces such as movie theaters and museums. Rolling out spoke with the leadership team about establishing a new vision for theater.
TMTC Harlem Nights is held in unconventional spaces. How has this implementation affected the works produced and the response from the community?
The Movement Theatre Company: It creates an opportunity to define a new generation of theatre that relates to a younger audience. We are able to produce more work and provide more opportunities for artists ranging in different mediums and artistic spheres. After our Monologue Slam, the first TMTC Harlem Nights Event this year, 8 of our 12 contestants were hired by other companies to take part in readings and workshops.
What advantages have you found within the use of technology that is advancing how theatrical works are produced and experienced?
TMTC: Through the use of blogs we have been able to provide our audience with a behind the scenes look at the role of the artist during a development process. TMTC will present a new play titled, “Look Upon Our Lowliness.” Unlike any other theatrical experience, audience members will receive pieces of the story through messaging from smart phones, prior to, during and after the actual performance. Through this project, we hope to fully explore how technology helps to enhance the reach we have among diverse communities and draw in new theatergoers.
What have been some of the challenges to having your original theatrical productions accepted by the mainstream theatrical community?
TMTC: One of the main challenges to being accepted by the mainstream theatrical community is being seen as an equal by the more established institutions due to our age as a company and individuals. There has always existed a sense of needing to prove ourselves with the work that we do because we are a young organization. Our method of addressing this challenge is to consistently produce the work that we want at the highest quality.
For more information on The Movement Theatre Company, please visit www.themovementtheatrecompany.org.