Interview-Based Podcast from Organization Serving the New York Nonprofit Theatre Community Spotlights Off and Off-Off Broadway Innovation 

First Five Episodes Will Be Available to Stream July 18;
Listen to the Trailer Here

The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./NY) announces What’s Off?, a new podcast celebrating innovative approaches individuals and organizations in the world of nonprofit theatre have taken to anything that has felt “off.” Featuring interviews with trailblazing artists, administrators, service providers, and other workers within the Off and Off-Off Broadway community, the podcast provides listeners with deep dives into various issues—and solutions to them—that will have a lasting impact on the field. “What’s Off?” is hosted by A.R.T./New York Programs Coordinator Ashley J. Hicks and Programs Manager Nicky Maggio or “N.” Its first five episodes will be available to stream July 18.

What’s Off?kicks off with an episode revisiting A.R.T./NY’s own history. It looks back to its origins as OOBA (the Off-Off Broadway Alliance), and how it emerged as a collective response to a dearth of funding for small nonprofit theaters—and traces its evolution into the present day. From there, Season One features episodes with innovators such as ASL interpreter and disability justice advocate Lynnette Taylor, and cultural coordinator Tavia Rivée Jefferson. A special episode explores how caregiving intersects with a professional life in theater, and features Tony nominee Amber Gray and nonprofit theatre leaders Roberta Pereira and Lindsey & Michael Sag in conversation with A.R.T./New York Co-Executive Director Risa Shoup. Another episode is devoted to the work of leading theatre organization SITI Company and how it came to a thoughtful and meaningful end.  

 As the podcast for the single membership organization serving the full breadth of New York City and State’s not-for-profit theatres, What’s Off? offers listeners a glimpse into organizations of all sizes, and their unique methods of reorienting themselves towards the future. The podcast doesn’t dwell on problems, but rather reveals a field in flux as, like the very works on its stages, it rethinks what’s possible. 

A.R.T./NY presents What’s Off? in the midst of the organization’s own evolution. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, A.R.T./NY recently appointed Talia Corren to serve as Co-Executive Director alongside Risa Shoup, adopting a model of shared executive leadership to envision and realize A.R.T./NY’s second half-century of impact. 

What’s Off Season One Episode Descriptions.


Episode 1 – “OOBA // Then & Now”

“It was because of OOBA that we were organized and that all of this happened. It wasn't random. We were very organized and we were right at that moment. At that moment, we were right.” - Bob Moss

In 1972, a group of New York theatre makers realized something was “off” when they noticed the limited amount of funding and resources available for their community. This group set out to fill in some of those gaps, and thus OOBA (the Off-Off Broadway Alliance) was formed!

In this episode, Audrey Rush chats it up with Steven Facey, Barnet Kellman, and Bob Moss about the ‘Then & Now’ of A.R.T./New York.  

Episode 2 – “SITI Company // The Sun Has Set”

“Trust your intuition. I knew [sunsetting SITI Company] was the right decision for this company much earlier in the process than others did. It took me a while to trust that intuition and to confidently say, I think this is the right thing for us to do.”  - Michelle Preston

SITI Company was an ensemble-based theater company whose three components were the creation of new work, the training of theater artists, and a commitment to crossing boundaries. 

In the Spring of 2023, Executive Director Michelle Preston, Producing Director Megan Carter, and Managing Director Brad Carlin sat down with A.R.T./New York Director of Program ServicesDavid E. Shane to talk about the long road toward sunsetting the organization. They discussed how they went about supporting ensemble members through the grief of letting go of their life’s work, and crying onstage (and off!) with the company during their final bows. 

Episode 3 – “Lynnette Taylor // Warrior Love”

“This is a political act. Interpreting for the theater is a political act. Sharing this space is a political act. We need to be in this conversation about what politics are being made.” - Lynnette Taylor

As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), Lynnette Taylor grew up with sign language as her first language - her home language. When she moved to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art, no one told her that she would be separated from her first language in an all-hearing environment. Taylor realized something was off when she ran into a Deaf man looking for an interpreter to come down to a civil rights demonstration for disabled people. In that moment, her life changed forever. 

Host Ashley J. Hicks chats with Lynnette about her origin story and how she combined her experience as a native signer and lover of the arts to create a robust career as a theatre interpreter.  

Episode 4 – The Caregivers // Bringing Our Whole Selves

“I think the important part is that bringing our whole selves is actually what makes us better. It makes the field and makes the art better” - Roberta Pereira 

In this special episode of “What’s Off?” A.R.T./New York Co-Executive Director Risa Shoup explores what it means to be a caregiver and to be cared for as a working theatre professional. Risa interviews Tony nominee Amber Gray, & nonprofit theatre leaders Roberta Pereira and Lindsey & Michael Sag.

Episode 5 – Tavia Rivée Jefferson // Launch the Class! 

“After the execution of George Floyd, I found myself in a lot of zoom rooms and affinity spaces where I was hearing people of color need a space or a representative to speak on our behalf when we didn't feel safe.” - Tavia Rivée Jefferson

After 25 years of experience in the theatre industry as a performer, Tavia Rivée Jefferson realized her very unique skill set made her a perfect fit for an emerging need in the rehearsal room, but this time, behind the table. Tavia created the role of Cultural Coordinator -  a mediator, moderator, resource, and liaison to support cultural sensitivities in the artistic space.  

Tune in to listen as Host Ashley J. Hicks chats with Tavia about how her unique journey led her to cultural coordinating and how the question, “if not me, then who?” created an entirely new and necessary role in the theatre industry. 

About the Hosts

Ashley J. Hicks (a.k.a. Ash, she/her) works currently as a Programs Coordinator for A.R.T./New York.  Ash is an actor, writer, solo performer & teaching artist. She received her MFA from the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in 2021 and was a participant in the 2022 Disney Television Discovers: Talent Showcase. 

Nicky Maggio or “N” (they/them) currently serves as Programs Manager at A.R.T/New York. N is a freelance theatrical curator with a focus on new play development and directing. Originally born in southeast Massachusetts, Nicky received their B.F.A. at Emerson College and then completed their M.F.A in Directing at The New School. 

About A.R.T./NY 

A.R.T./New York is committed to its mission of serving and strengthening the complete identity of the nonprofit theatre community throughout New York City and State. Since its founding in 1972 by a small collective to promote community and collaboration across a budding field, A.R.T./New York has become an essential pillar of a vibrant member community of 520+ theatres. From neuro-diverse artist collectives to BIPOC-led theatres, A.R.T./NY’s membership mirrors the diverse identities that comprise the population of New York City and State. A.R.T./New York is the single membership organization serving the full breadth of New York City and State’s not-for-profit theatres. A.R.T./NY serves every “organism” in the theatre’s complex ecosystem by providing cash grants, free educational services, subsidized rehearsal, office and theatre space, and advocacy that is responsive to the needs of its constituents and ensures sustainable, vibrant, nonprofit theatre throughout New York. 

A.R.T/NY’s new shared leadership structure emphasizes that stakeholders are investing in the organization itself—its mission, and, by extension, its future—rather than any one individual. This model gives Co-Executive Directors equal standing within and outside the organization, along with the autonomy to determine shared responsibilities and to jointly make major decisions.

Press Contact

Blake Zidell at Blake Zidell & Associates: [email protected] or 917.572.2493.

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