The First Twenty, a new content initiative from ALL ARTS that shows how the first two decades of the 21st century influenced American art, culture and collective consciousness, presents three original specials this fall.
The First Twenty: After, a compelling monologue by award-winning playwright Enda Walsh (“Lazarus”, “Sing Street”) in association with the Irish Arts Center, premieres on September 7th. The second offering, The First Twenty: Ma’s House, to Exploring the Development of Native American Art by photographer and Shinnecock Indian Nation member Jeremy Dennis, premieres on October 11 in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day.
The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting, an insightful documentary by Ralph Peña and the Ma-Yi Theater Company, featuring interviews with Tony winner David Henry Hwang and playwright, director, and filmmaker Young Jean Lee, premieres in November. All three specials will be shown nationwide on the ALL ARTS app and AllArts.org/TheFirstTwenty, and premiered in the New York metro area on the ALL ARTS TV channel (Duct installation).
“Our mission with The First Twenty initiative is to view and explore contemporary society and its challenges through alternative lenses,” said James King, Artistic Director of ALL ARTS. “We invite artists from traditionally underserved communities to create exciting new content that sheds light on their unique cultures and perspectives. This in turn overcomes the barriers many members of these communities have with the arts by providing entry points for personal and reflective engagement with their perspective on American culture. “
The first twenty: after that
Premiere Tuesday, September 7th at 8 p.m. on ALL ARTS
Written and directed by Enda Walsh, an award-winning playwright from North Dublin (“Lazarus”, in collaboration with David Bowie, “Sing Street”) in collaboration with the Irish Arts Center, After asks the question: “From now on everything will be different be – but how? ” The 15-minute monologue, sensitively performed by New York-based Irish actress Sarah Street (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), is an emotional look at how we perceive our past and how – even when our own memories are fragmented – the past is neither bad nor good, but it is entirely a part of us. Based in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, the Irish Arts Center is a national and international home for the Irish and Irish-American communities, the developing global diaspora, and culturally engaged citizens from everywhere, everywhere.
The first twenty: Ma’s house
Premiere on Indigenous Peoples Day, Monday, October 11th at 8 p.m. on ALL ARTS
Jeremy Dennis is a contemporary fine art photographer and a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation whose work explores indigenous identity, assimilation and tradition. In this Verité short document, he discusses the development of Native American art and the construction of Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio, an artist refuge and communal art space on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, NY, which will provide a safe space for free creativity and healing. The center, which will include a BIPOC artist residence, art studio, and library, will host a range of art and history-based programs for tribal members and the wider local community.
The First Twenty: 20 years of Asian-American dramaturgy
Premiere Tuesday, November 9th at 8 p.m. on ALL ARTS
This 30-minute documentary, created by Ralph Peña, Producing Artistic Director of the Ma-Yi Theater Company, shows the development of the Asian-American playwright over the past 20 years and takes a close look at the changes in fashion how Asian-American plays in general are perceived, as well as the expanding subject matter of Asian-American authors that extends well beyond identity politics. Interviewees include theater greats: Tony, OBIE and Grammy Award winner, and Pulitzer Prize in Drama Finalist David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly,” “Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida,” “Tarzan,” the Broadway musical) ; Playwright, director and filmmaker Young Jean Lee, winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards and a PEN Literary Award, who was the first Asian-American playwright to have a play produced on Broadway; Playwright Mike Lew (“Little Father”, “Teenage Dick”), Guggenheim Fellow and Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence in Ma-Yi; Playwright Rehana Lew Mirza (“A Popular Guide to History in the Time of the Here and Now”, “Soldier X”), a playwright with the Mellon Foundation in Ma-Yi; Playwright Lauren Yee (“Cambodian Rock Band”, “The Great Leap”); and playwright and director Chay Yew (“Porcelain”, “A Language of Your Own”).
The First Twenty kicked off in May on ALL ARTS with Michael Mwenso Honors George Floyd (now streaming), a powerful concert tribute with some of today’s greatest black artists on the one year anniversary of the assassination of George Floyd. Curated by James King, the initiative invites artists from diverse and traditionally underrepresented communities to create original content that reflects their insights, discoveries, and hopes after the quantum shifts of the past 20 years. The First Twenty offers artists from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to share their lived experiences, including changing art creation and consumption. Another new program is planned for 2022. The works are complemented by a curated playlist of related public media content on the ALL ARTS app and website.
The First Twenty: After is an Irish Arts Center production. Enda Walsh is a director and writer. Performed by Sarah Street. Editing, sound and post production by Jack Phelan. Tom Rowley is a cameraman. For the Irish Arts Center: Rachael Gilkey is a producer and Aidan Connolly is the executive director.
The First Twenty: Ma’s House is directed and written by Jeremy Dennis, who is also a cameraman. Darren Peister is an editor.
The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting is a Ma-Yi Theater Company production. Ralph B. Peña is a writer and director. With David Henry Hwang, Michael Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza, Qui Nguyen, Lloyd Suh, Lauren Yee and Chay Yew. Francisco Aliwalas is a cameraman and editor. Original music by Fabian Obispo. Jakob Carter is an associate producer.
For ALL ARTS: Anna Campbell is a multimedia producer. Kristy Geslain and Joe Harrell are executive producers. James King is the artistic director. Diane Masciale and Neal Shapiro are responsible leaders.
ALL ARTS breaks new ground as the premier address for inspiration, creativity and art of all kinds. This New York Emmy award-winning arts and culture center is founded by The WNET Group, the parent company of the New York stationery stations. With the aim of being accessible to viewers everywhere, the program nominated by ALL ARTS for Webby – from digital short films to feature films – is available online nationwide via allarts.org, the free ALL ARTS app on all common streaming platforms and @AllArtsTV Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. New York area TV viewers can also watch the 24/7 channel. For all the ways to watch, visit allarts.org/everywhere.