Madeline Sayet's Where We Belong will begin its New York premiere later this month at Off-Broadway's The Public Theater. Kicking off with a Joseph Papp Free Performance October 28, the play will officially open November 9 in the LuEsther Hall for a run through November 27.
Produced by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in association with Folger Shakespeare Library, Mohegan playwright and theatre artist Sayet stars in her solo work, which investigates questions of colonialism, belonging, and the globalization of the world. The Public Theater marks the latest stop on the show's national tour.
Mei Ann Teo directs the production with production design by Hao Bai, costume design by Asa Benally, composition and sound design by Erik Schilke, and dramaturgy by Vera Starbard. Grace Chariya is production stage manager. Emily Preis serves as standby.
Where We Belong previously made stops at Philadelphia Theatre Company, Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and Seattle Rep. Following The Public engagement, the show will run at Folger Theatre at Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., in winter 2024.
Sayet's work runs only at theatres that agree to a rider developed by the playwright, according to Folgers' announcement of the tour. "I didn't want my story to be able to be used as a tokenistic way for theatres to check boxes, without actually changing their behavior,” explains Sayet. “So we created an accountability rider to go with the show in order to ensure all the presenting theatres would commit to what I feel is the bare minimum commitment toward engaging with the Native peoples whose lands they occupy, and the history of our erasure in the ‘American’ theatre. Each presenting theatre has agreed to never present redface again, develop an ongoing relationship with the Native peoples whose lands they occupy, offer free tickets to the show to all Native audiences, present work by local Native artists, and organize events supporting local language revitalization initiatives. It is my hope that these initiatives will lead to more Native stories being told, and, when done in tandem with the show, create awareness of some of the actual issues the piece is trying to address."