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The Foundry Theatre
140-142 2nd Ave, Suite 405
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777 - 1444

This Is My City

A series of dialogues and performances exploring new perspectives/possibilities for life in NYC.


April — May 2010
This year’s Foundry Dialogues brought artists and social justice communities together to explore how we each and together build lives in New York City. 5 teams of artists and social justice organizations were selected (from a large applicant pool) to curate this series of dialogues, presentations, and performances that look at class, work & labor, public education and community building. This Is My City follows The Foundry’s interest in pushing the boundaries of our imaginations to uncover alternative possibilities for a new and better world.

Connected Ideas

Event 1: Class of 2010 / Clase de 2010

Co-curated by:
Right to the City Alliance & theatre maker Melanie Joseph

 Right to the City, 
Melanie Joseph, 
Domestic Workers United, 
Lisa Ramirez, 
Urban Justice Center, 
Lear DeBessonet, 
Lucy Thurber, Center for Immigrant Families, 
FUREE, Erik Ehn
Middle class, lower-middle class, upper-middle class, working class– what class are you in? Who is Obama addressing in his agenda for middle class families? What are the consequences of those decisions? What are some alternative ways to consider our standards of living in this century?  Class of 2010 asks what it means to be ‘class-ified’ and how might we begin to imagine ourselves alternatively aligned?

Guest speakers: 
Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University
Marina Sitrin, lawyer, journalist and author of HORIZONTALISM, 
Zakia Henderson-Browne, FUREE Organizer and Member

“Middle class is not a class concept. In the history of economic thought, there is not a middle class: there’s working class, there’s bourgeoisie, there’s the aristocracy, etc. Middle class is essentially a denial of class difference. That’s the way it’s used in the US: to say, ‘It isn’t that there are conflicts among people and that some do well because other people do badly, that some profit off the poverty and the low wages of others: that’s not the case. We’re all one big family, we’re all in the middle” – it’s absurd, it’s certainly not a class concept. It’s largely an American term – the closest you come in European literature is the concept of petit bourgeois. I would argue that there’s no such thing as the middle class.” – Peter Marcuse

Event 2: Invisible Women Rise / Mujeres Invisibles Superan
Created and Performed by Domestic Workers United with Playwright, Lisa Ramirez


Invisible Women – Rise is a dance theatre piece exploring themes of migration as well as isolation and injustices in the work place. It premiered to at a sold-out benefit for DWU’s Bill of Rights campaign.


In 2003, DWU launched the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaign to fight for the passage of the nation’s first comprehensive labor legislation, extending basic rights and protections to domestic workers. In 2010 — two weeks after our performance of Invisible Women Rise, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was passed on the NY Senate floor — the first change to U.S labor laws since 1935! The final vote was cast by Senator Diane Savino – who had attended our performance – who closed her now historic speech with “and now, invisible women, rise … and be seen,” whereupon all the women who had performed the piece stood up in the NY Senate gallery and were righteously applauded …for a second time.

“DWU believes in the power of art and culture to build unity and raise consciousness about the struggles of domestic workers. The Foundry Theatre’s This is My City has given us an opportunity to extend our reach and carry our voices farther than we ever imagined.” – Domestic Workers United

Event 3: Sex In The City – The Flip Side / Sexo en la Ciudad: El Otro Lado

A Theatrical Revue Created and Performed by
Members of The Peter Cicchino Youth Project/Urban Justice Center
with Director, Lear de Bessonet & Playwright, Lucy Thurber


A series of short scenes in which LGBTQQ youth of color shared unique perspectives on policing of gender and sex in New York City, offering a glimpse into lives frequently unseen and unimagined, characterized by resistance, resilience, strength and survival.

“The Peter Cicchino Youth Project at the Urban Justice Center is excited to collaborate with The Foundry Theatre as a means of giving voice and creative space to LGBTQQ youth of color who are all too often silenced subjects of policy debates around “quality of life,” sexual exploitation, and the policing and punishment of sex work.”– Urban Justice Center


Event 4: More Than a Number / Mas Que un Numero
A Play Created and Performed by
Members of The Center for Immigrant Families
with Playwright, Sung Rno & Director, Debbie Saivetz


Members of CIF collaborated with Rno and Saivetz to create and perform this play. MORE THAN A NUMBER features a family wrestling with the destabilizing effects of high stakes testing in NY public schools.

“I hope you all get a chance to see the work these talented folks have
done on this vitally important issue in education. A presentation
like this would be a great tool for school communities who are worried
about the effects High Stakes Standardized Tests have on their lives.
There may be a video copy of the performance out soon so — stay tuned! “
Grassroots Education Movement

“CIF is excited to be a part of a project that reflects the type of cultural resistance that is important to our organizing work. After much discussion around the issues our families are facing in public education, we decided to explore the issue of high stakes standardized testing as a key mechanism of inequality in public education. This is a timely issue given the impact that testing has had on our families, schools and communities.” – Center for Immigrant Families

The Center for Immigrant Families (CIF) is an inter-generational and collectively-run organization of low-income immigrant women of color and community members in Uptown Manhattan.  CIF works to address the challenges facing our communities by linking our personal/psychological well-being, health, and development to organizing that transforms the root causes of the injustices we confront and their multi-layered impacts. CIF builds power and leadership among low-income parents of color to take back and transform our schools and demand a public education system that truly serves our children.


Event 5: Food Fight / Plea de Comida

Food and Fellowship, a community feast co-hosted by Families United for Racial & Economic Equality (FUREE) & Playwright, Erik Ehn


A communal meal and discussion, celebrating FUREE’s powerful housing and food access campaigns in downtown Brooklyn. 28 playwrights prepared and served a meal to FUREE members who in turn wrote and performed a play for the occasion.