Ping Chong

47 Great Jones Street, New York, NY 10012
T: 212 529 1557 F: 212 529 1703
[email protected]


Saturday, October 27, 2012
Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 E. 4th Street

In 1992, Ping Chong was working on a visual art installation at Artist Space, titled “A Facility for the Channeling and Containment of Undesirable Elements,” when the curator asked him to create an accompanying performance piece. Chong gathered a group of multi-lingual individuals and the first UE performance was born. this panel event which revisits the interdisciplinary roots of UE by inviting practitioners from theater, dance, media and visual arts to participate in a discussion on current socially engaged practices. This event will be livestreamed through Culturehub.

Panelists will include:
Gonzalo Casals, Director of Education & Public Programs, El Museo del Barrio
Ping Chong, Artistic Director, Ping Chong + Company
Michael Rohd, Artistic Director, Sojourn Theatre/Center for Performance and Civic Practice
Amy Smith, Founder and Co-Director, Headlong Dance Theater
Shay Wafer, Executive Director, 651 Arts

For background, we recommend reading these two articles:

On Social Practice and Performance by Andy Horwitz

Translations: The Distinction Between Social and Civic Practice and Why I Find it Useful by Michael Rohd

All attendees of the panel receive a $5 discount to the performance of Secret Survivors on 10/27 following the panel. Please use the code PANEL when reserving tickets to the performance. Tickets for the performance can be reserved here.

Panelist Bios

Gonzalo Casals
El Museo del Barrio
Gonzalo Casals joined El Museo del Barrio in September 2006, where he currently serves as Director of Education & Public Programs. Casals developed exciting new programs, drawing in new audiences and cultivating new stakeholders for the institution. He has led the department in the development of a new approach to cultural production, in which the Museum’s resources are used as a tool to foster cultural empowerment and understanding. Casals truly believes that museum should be an active participant in civic life, while providing a space for its constituents to learn, reflect and impact the communities they belong to.

Ping Chong
Ping Chong + Company
Ping Chong, Artistic Director of Ping Chong +Company, is an internationally acclaimed theatre director, playwright, video and installation artist, and a seminal figure in the interdisciplinary theater community. In 1992, Ping Chong created the first work in the Undesirable Elements series. Since then there have been nearly 50 productions in communities around the world. Among his many honors and awards, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two BESSIE awards and two OBIE awards, including one for sustained Achievement in 2000. In 2006, Ping Chong was named a USA Artist Fellow in recognition of his contributions to American arts and culture.

Michael Rohd
Sojourn Theatre/Center for Performance and Civic Practice
Michael Rohd is founding artistic director of Sojourn Theatre, a thirteen year old ensemble-based company and a 2005 recipient of Americans for the Arts’ Animating Democracy Exemplar Award. He devises and directs around the nation, received a 2010 Chicago Jeff Award for Best New Work, is on faculty at Northwestern University, and wrote the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue. His work with Sojourn, other theaters and in non-arts sector settings focuses on social and civic practice projects through collaboratively designed arts-based engagement and participation strategies. He leads the recently formed Center for Performance and Civic Practice.

David Brick
Headlong Dance Theater
David Brick is a founding Co-Director of Headlong Dance Theater, an experimental dance company based in Philadelphia since 1993. The experience of growing up in a deaf family has continually influenced his interest in the body as an active manifestation of culture. Teetering between deaf and hearing worlds has provided an excellent vantage for seeing the body and its perceptions squarely at the crossroads of action and thought, imagination and necessity, desire and spirituality, individuality and community. Since directing Hotel Pool in 2004, David has focused on the porous boundary between the ordinary world and that of performance. These ideas have been explored in Headlong works such as Pusher, Cell, Explanatorium, More, and This Town is a Mystery—a performance by ordinary citizens in their own households.

Shay Wafer
651 Arts
Shay Wafer, Executive Director 651 ARTS has demonstrated a stalwart dedication to the arts and community development, with a focus on African-American programming, community engagement and arts education. In 2007, Shay became the founding Vice President of Programs for the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Prior to the August Wilson Center, she served for six years as the managing director of Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles, California- her hometown. She also served as the Managing Director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company and LA Theatreworks. She was a founding partner of Marla Gibb’s Crossroads Arts Academy and Theatre in L.A., as well as the co-founder of Colored Girl Productions. is a website devoted to cultural critique and the contemporary performing arts. Through previews, interviews, points of view and reviews, Culturebot provides a platform for dialogue and conversation around the performing arts, fostering new voices in critical writing and supporting thoughtful investigation of artists working across disciplines.