Founding Artistic Director George Strus has announced new theatrical non-profit Breaking the Binary Theatre. Developed from the inaugural 2022 Breaking the Binary Festival, Breaking the Binary Theatre will support and present works by transgender, non-binary, and Two-Spirit+ artists.
The non-profit launches with multiple initiatives for developing new works and building an artistic community. One program is the BTB New Works Program which provides developmental readings and workshops. It launched in December with Shualee Cook's Cercle Hermaphroditos. Tony nominee L Morgan Lee directs the work, and stars alongside Justin David Sullivan (who recently announced they have declined Tony Award eligibility), Han Van Sciver, Joslyn DeFreece, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kevin Kantor, Mark Ashin, and Nick Matthews. Lee participated in last year's Breaking the Binary Festival as a director.
Submissions of full-length works have already opened for the 2023 presentation of the annual Breaking the Binary Festival, which will be held October 23-30. Applications will be accepted through March 12. Bryar Barborka serves as literary manager.
Another initiative announced is the 2023 Falco and Steinman BTB Residency Program, created via a partnership with Basil Kremeindahl and Jenna Worsham's New Roots Queer Residency. Two artists will be sponsored by Breaking the Binary Theatre to attend the residency at upstate New York's Walhalla Farms in May. Rounding out the programs are the BTB Commissioning Program, which will award $10,000 to an artist to develop a new work, and an open submissions programs for TNB2S+ artists.
“Following the positive response of last October’s Festival, the urgency for a space like Breaking the Binary continued to grow as the longstanding history of TNB2S+ artists being misrepresented and underpaid for their work in the American theatre continued,” said Strus in a statement. “As we expand, we continue to rectify this head-on by holistically centering TNB2S+ artists and their visions, all the while still compensating each artist equitably (with all hourly wages based upon New York’s Living Wage).”
Serving on the theatre's voluntary advisory board called the Core Community are Tony-nominated designer Adam Rigg (The Skin of Our Teeth), Jonathan Larson Award-winning writer César Alvarez (Futurity), New York Stage and Film’s Former Artistic Director Chris Burney, Princess Grace Award Honoraria recipient and director David Mendizábal (Notes on Killing Seven Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Board Members), Guggenheim Fellow and writer Jen Silverman (The Moors), Tony-winning actor and writer John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Tony-winning KO who was formerly known as Karen Olivo (In the Heights), Jonathan Larson Award-winning poet Kit Yan (Interstate), Tony nominee L Morgan Lee (A Strange Loop), Jane Chambers Prize and Helen Merrill Award-winning writer MJ Kaufman (A Transparent Musical), Antonyo Award-nominated costume designer Qween Jean (The Seagull/Woodstock, NY), Co-Director of A.R.T./New York Risa Shoup, Tomás Matos (Fire Island), Grammy-winning storyteller Ty Defoe (Straight White Men), and Helen Hayes Award-winning director Will Davis (California).
The Breaking the Binary Festival is sponsored by Producer Hub and supported by Manhattan Theatre Club, MCC Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Public Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, Soho Rep, and WP Theater.
BTB Founders continuing to support Breaking the Binary Theatre include Salman Al-Rashid, Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman, Daryl Roth, and Jodi Balsam and Craig Balsam. Joining its supporters are Jordan Roth and Richie Jackson, Nicole and Stephen Eisenberg, JKW Foundation, and Craig Harwood.