Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Civilians are Hiring a New Producing Director


The Civilians seeks a Producing Director to partner with the Artistic Director to lead the company's ongoing organizational development and advance its artistic mission. The Producing Director will provide inspirational leadership and help promote collaboration, innovation and sustainability for this thriving theater company. The position manages relationships with all of The Civilians’ stakeholders both internally (staff, artists and board) and externally (producers, presenters, funders, program partners). This position plays the leading role in producing The Civilians’ work, which includes an annual New York production, co-productions locally and nationally, touring, and online media. We seek an individual with exceptional creativity, entrepreneurial vision, and proven management skills for this critical role in our company.

·         Producing the company’s artistic work, including marketing and audience development;
·         Sustaining key relationships and cultivating new resources available to The Civilians; 
·         Budgeting and financial management;
·         Individual and Institutional development in collaboration with the Development Director.
·         Identifying and developing new opportunities for growth both for artistic programs and the company overall.
·         Staff leadership, Board relations and strategic planning.

Necessary skills: At least seven years of management responsibility in the arts. Several years of producing experience. Non-profit financial management. Experience with nonprofit development. Solid understanding of commissioning, artist, and presenting contracts. 

Ideal skills: An established national network with producing theaters and presenters. Experience with marketing and PR. Online media literacy. Experience with educational programs.

Competitive salary and benefits. Please send a letter of interest, resume, and salary requirements to:

Led by Artistic Director Steve Cosson, The Civilians is a company that creates new theater from creative investigations into the most vital questions of the present. Through a number of artistic programs, The Civilians advances theater as an engine of artistic innovation and strengthens the connections between theater and society.

Since its founding in 2001, The Civilians has existed as a theater of discovery.  As a company, we have sought to challenge our ways of knowing and reveal the world as a bigger, stranger, and more complex place than previously believed.  Through this work, artists and audiences have walked in the shoes of those they hadn’t known, found something new in the familiar, broke out of insularity, and grappled with the unknown.  We have investigated the ever-changing present, the “others,” the civilians. 

By embracing this philosophy and a distinctive developmental process, The Civilians has become nationally and internationally known for a string of acclaimed theatrical works, including: Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (2013), Paris Commune (2012), In the Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards (2010), This Beautiful City (2009), (I Am) Nobody's Lunch (2006) and Gone Missing (2003). The Civilians works with countless partners locally, national, and internationally in order to create, present, and produce this work.  In addition to the creation of work, The Civilians has created a slate of programming in support of artists and their process, including the R&D Writers Group, Let Me Ascertain You cabarets and podcasts, and online media programs.

For more information please visit

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Rowena" from Let Me Ascertain You: Sex Variants 1941

Check out Cyrilla Baer performing "Rowena" (music by Erato A. Kremmyda and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman) from our recent Let Me Ascertain You: Sex Variants 1941 at Joe's Pub! 

Go HERE to listen to the entire podcast, and please subscribe on iTunes and rate us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Balancing Agenda + Art

The Civilians’ artistic team has started interviewing other artists that address climate change in their work as part of an ongoing series. We are excited to feature a brief portion of the next interview in the series, a chat between the founder and “Captain” of Superhero Clubhouse, Jeremy Pickard, and The Civilians’ Literary Associate, Amina Henry. 
Superhero Clubhouse is a collective of artists and environmental advocates working at the intersection of science and theater. They make original performances via a collaborative, green and rigorous process. 

Jeremy Pickard in DON'T BE SAD, FLYING ACE! at the 14th St Y, photo by Marina McClure
I’m curious as to when you started – so you had the first seed of an idea for “Don’t Be Sad, Flying Ace!” and when did you start writing it?
So I had the seed of an idea a couple years ago but I just didn’t know much more than it had to do with a dog inspired by Snoopy, stuck on his rooftop floating in the middle of the ocean, and it was called “Don’t Be Sad, Flying Ace!” I didn’t know much more than that. But I figured it had something to do with rising oceans and maybe storms. 
I wonder if you could talk a little about the trick of talking about issues via performance but avoiding it becoming an ‘issue piece’ that is alienating or isolating.
This is the crux, like, this is it, that’s what eco-theater is striving towards, is finding the balance. And I keep trying to figure out ways to define what I’m doing and my most recent definition is that eco-theater is the craft of balancing agenda and art. And that’s really tricky. Because if I want to just write a play with no agenda then I might start writing a character and the character wants to go in this direction and we take that character in this direction. But I’ve encountered this time and time again with so many of the plays where we’ll be creating it, and we will get excited because we’ll start figuring things out about what happens with the character. And we’ll get lost in the typical way that’s really helpful for a play. But then you have to step back and go, is this actually telling the story that is rooted in this questionIs it doing that justice? Is it reflecting this question? And so, I find that actually, rather than being inhibiting, it’s really freeing, because it forces you to make a choiceIt’s what Anne Bogart calls ‘the violence of decision-making in art,’ the violence of making a choice.
I was just at this conference in Toronto called “Staging Sustainability” and the speaker began the conference by saying one of her main themes was ‘living in the questions.’ And that’s my thing, living in the questions because not even the scientists have the answers, nobody has the full-on solutions…because the real solutions are not going to happen. A real solution would be everyone in the world stops flying, stops driving cars, stops eating meat. Or the other solution is that scientists get tons of funding to start sequestering carbon, which may happen, but like none of these are easy. Building walls around Manhattan is not an easy solution, and that may not be the solution, right? I don’t know, I mean there are so many big problems that are fast approaching and so many problems that we’re already in the thick of that nobody knows the answer to. So why in the world would I make a play and tell people the answer to anything? Because to me the point of eco-theater is to engage the audience in questions so that they leave and think about it.

Be sure to check out our website devoted to The Great Immensity for more interesting projects that explore the intersection of art + science + activism. 

Sex Variants, Part IV

This is our fourth and final episode of our Let Me Ascertain You: Sex Variants 1941, taking inspiration from a study conducted in the 1930’s by Dr. George Henry in which he interviewed a couple hundred individuals and cataloged data such as a complete family history with symbols to indicate who had what venereal disease, tuberculosis, alcoholism, who committed suicide, who was psychotic. We set some of these personal histories to song and brought others to life with monologues performed at Joe’s Pub in NYC.

To kick us off, we’ll start with a song written and performed by Max Vernon taking inspiration from the case study of Moses I. And the little intro you’ll hear is taken from Dr. Henry’s own words, performed by Trey Lyford. Also featured, actor Nedra McClyde performing the case study of Myrtle K, a vaudeville comedian. After that, we’ll wrap things up with a sea shanty, “Odd Girl Out” written by Jill Sobule, inspired by Roberta H., and performed by Marykate O’Neil. Many thanks to everyone involved in this project and our project contributors Ian Daniel, Joel Glassman, Amina Henry, Leicester Landon, and Benjamin Viertel.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

We Want Your Stories!

Hi Friends of The Civilians,

Our “Let Me Ascertain You” series returns to Joe’s Pub on Saturday, May 17th at 7pm. We’re hoping you can help us with our next installment: “F*cking and Dying.”

If you didn’t notice, we’re a bit obsessed with sex and death at The Civilians and this cabaret explores what happens when those fixations collide. We will look at the duality of human nature and our competing sex and death drives - our instinct for life, love and reproduction against our instinct toward death, aggression, and repulsion...and we need your stories!

If any of you or anyone you know might have good stories about sex or death or tales where the two collide -- please send details our way!

We’re looking to hear stories about…
- Wild coming-of-age sex stories or sexual explorations
- Sex addiction or Nyphomania
- Auto-erotic fetishes
- Dominatrix work
- “Terror sex” following disaster or trauma
- Sexual encounters near or connected to dying, funerals
...or of course necrophilia 

Please send us a brief summary of your story or shoot any questions you might have to and if we think your story might work for us, we’ll be in touch about setting up an interview. Any and all leads are helpful. We’re looking forward to hearing your stories. For more information click here
The Civilians
Photo Credit: Antoine D'Agata 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sex Variants, Part III

Welcome to episode three in our series Let Me Ascertain You: Sex Variants 1941. Recorded live at Joe’s Pub in New York City, this show takes its inspiration from the medical book Sex Variants: A Study of Homosexual Patterns by Dr. George W. Henry. For each of his case studies, Dr. Henry recorded a detailed and intimate personal history, and we are sharing some of these with you now through performances by actors and in original songs. In between, you will sometimes hear Dr. Henry’s own introductions to these case studies; those bits are performed by actor Trey Lyford. Our first piece is a song by the writing team of Erato Kremmyda and Maggie-Kate Coleman. Cyrilla Baer interprets the words of Rowena K. Following that is Rudolph Von H, a monologue performed by David Cale. And to close the third episode, we have a song by Michael Friedman inspired by the case study of Sydney H. Michael’s song is performed here by Dito Van Reigersberg accompanied on the piano by Nathan Dame.