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Epic Theatre Ensemble

“I can’t think of a more noble, more vital contribution than what Epic does. The nurturing, the awakening of hearts and minds of the young people they work with. I don’t think there is a greater gift to our world today.”
David Strathairn, Actor and Epic Board Member
Mission & History

From Off-Broadway to Public Schools throughout New York City, Epic Theatre Ensemble is a company of Citizen-Artists using theatre to inspire dialogue about vital social, ethical, and political issues.
Epic Theatre Ensemble aims to build thoughtful citizenship in communities throughout the city by producing socially-minded plays Off-Broadway, and connecting these plays to the NYC Public Schools via ground-breaking, fully-integrated artist residencies. Using theatrical participation to foster dialogue on the complex relationships between individuals and their civic context, Epic's artists champion the belief that a theatre which addresses social issues is critical to the health of our democracy.
Winner of OBIE, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics, and OTTO Awards, Epic Theatre Ensemble was founded by Zak Berkman, Melissa Friedman, Teri Lamm, Ron Russell and James Wallert. Additional Producing Artists are Will Pomerantz, Godfrey L. Simmons Jr. and Sarah Winkler.
Epic's first official day of operations was September 11, 2001. Rather than be deterred by world events, Epic's Founders were galvanized to work even harder to create a company that embraces theatre and theatre-artists as unique instruments for empowering diverse voices, fostering public dialogue, and inspiring social change. The artists who participate in Epic's Off-Broadway Season are also part of the company's nationally acclaimed Arts-In-Education residencies that are presented in public high schools and community centers in New York, New Jersey, and New England.
Epic's past productions include Nilaja Sun's No Child..., which Epic commissioned, developed and premiered before its commercial transfer and national tour, as well as premieres of Palace of the End by Judith Thompson (Epic Commission, 2008 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Winner), A Hard Heart by Howard Barker (featuring Kathleen Chalfant), Beauty on the Vine by Zak Berkman (featuring Olivia Wilde), Hannah and Martin by Kate Fodor (featuring David Strathairn), Einstein's Gift by Vern Thiessen (featuring Aasif Mandvi and Shawn Elliott), Habitat by Judith Thompson (featuring Rebecca Schull) and revivals of GB Shaw's Widowers' Houses (featuring Peter Jay Fernandez, Rachael Holmes, & Jacob Ming-Trent), Little Eyolf by Henrik Ibsen and Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestley. Epic's annual Sunshine Series Readings Festival shining light on new political playwriting has nurtured and presented work by numerous socially-minded writers including Bathsheba Doran, Marcus Gardley, Jeanne Sakata, Nilaja Sun, Judy Tate, Vern Thiessen, Judith Thompson, Daniel Voll, Patricia Wettig, and David Zellnik. In June 2008, Epic's New Play Wing was in residence at The Orchard Project developing a number of projects including Lear de Bessonet/Todd Almond's OLIVER!
Throughout our 8 Seasons our company has deepened the connection between our Off-Broadway and School Communities and Programs through "Bridge Projects" such as our annual Shakespeare Bridge Productions and First Time Voter Celebrations. In addition, we established Epic NEXT, an apprentice company comprised of former students from our in-school residencies.
Epic Theatre Ensemble is a Member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, as well as ART/NY.

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