Signature Theatre’s THE WATERING HOLE, An Immersive Theatrical Installation Conceived and Created by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Lynn Nottage and Director Miranda Haymon, Extends through August 8

Signature Theatre (Paige Evans, Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert, Executive Director) presents The Watering Hole, an immersive theatrical installation conceived and created by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Residency 1 playwright Lynn Nottage and acclaimed writer, director, and curator Miranda Haymon, bringing together multidisciplinary artists of color in an expansive reimagining of theatrical space, has been extended through August 8. Nearly a decade after the ribbon-cutting at Signature’s home, the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center, The Watering Hole re-illuminates the space—and reimagines how the building can serve artists and communities—after the pandemic’s shuttering of theatres and a year of uprisings for racial justice.

“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

The Watering Hole is open to the public with staggered entry in physically distanced groups of four with start times between 11:30am and 8:00pm on weekends, and between 7:00pm and 8:00pm on weekdays, with additional 3:15pm-4:15pm times weekdays during the second week; the series of installations is estimated to take approximately 80 minutes to experience. Maintaining the organization’s commitment to economic access, and keeping in mind the hardships of the pandemic, weekday viewings Tuesday-Thursday will be ticketed on a choose-what-you-pay basis, with suggested amounts of $10, $25, $35 or fill-in-the-amount. On weekends, Friday-Sunday, Signature Theatre will offer a choose-what-you- pay option as the first block of tickets, as well as $25 tickets in the afternoon and $35 tickets in the evening. A virtual glimpse into the installations will be made available in the final weeks of the run. Click here to purchase tickets. The Watering Hole began previews on June 22, opened on July 1 and was originally scheduled to close on July 25 before the extension.

Lynn Nottage. Photo by Lia Chang
Lynn Nottage. Photo by Lia Chang

Lynn Nottage says of The Watering Hole, “The goal was to create a collaborative piece of theatre that disrupts the notion of how and where and why storytelling can happen, that invites theatre artists of color to bring the entirety of our imaginations into conversation with each other and see the ways in which we can tell our stories outside the frameworks that are generally imposed upon us. The inspiration and organizing principle of The Watering Hole came about when we, as a collective, began talking about what Signature means to us, and in particular that lobby—how important that communal space has been to us over the years. What does it mean to have lost that nexus point that gives us the opportunity to gather and see disparate people coming together?”

“The Multiplicity of Our Desires” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

With installations acting as tributaries to and from the central watering hole theme, this collaborative work safely welcomes audiences back into a space replete with new propositions for theatre’s future. The Watering Hole is part of SigSpace. Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SigSpace brings artistic programming to the Center’s public spaces and sustains its lobby as a free public workspace and social hub for New York City artists. The project culminates Nottage’s residency at the Signature, following hit runs of her plays Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark in earlier seasons.

“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Signature Theatre Artistic Director Paige Evans says, “The Watering Hole breaks new ground for Signature Theatre in the most exciting way. It has been a gift to watch Lynn Nottage, Miranda Haymon, and this dynamic group of collaborators expand our imaginations and truly transform The Pershing Square Signature Center. These talented and dynamic artists are making the most out of their medium—activating staircases, elevators, dressing rooms, and more—and the result is a devised performance unlike anything audiences have seen before at Signature Theatre. We couldn’t have planned The Watering Hole as the culminating production of Lynn Nottage’s residency, but we’re thrilled that it is. Following a season of artistic drought, comes relief, comes water. There is little else I can say about this ingenious and innovative work aside from: ‘come and experience it.’”

“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

In The Watering Hole, artists re-activate the grand staircase (in a piece by Navajo playwright and director Rhiana Yazzie and costume designer Montana Levi Blanco); the backstage of the Griffin Theatre (theatre director and projections designer Stefania Bulbarella and playwright Charly Evon Simpson); the Linney Theatre (actor, playwright, and autobiographical performer Ryan J. Haddad, and scenic and production designer Emmie Finckel); the Signature Center main lobby (playwright Haruna Lee and sculptor, painter, performer, poet, and activist Vanessa German); the Griffin Theatre (lighting designer Amith Chandrashaker and playwright Matt Barbot); the Ford Studio Theatre (playwright Phillip Howze and performer, choreographer, director, playwright, and educator nicHi douglas); the Diamond Theatre (composer, sound design artist, and musician Justin Ellington and playwright Christina Anderson); Outside Signature’s main entrance (Lynn Nottage, creative producer and dramaturg Iyvon E., Matt Barbot, and Haruna Lee); the Linney Theatre dressing rooms (Miranda Haymon and Christina Anderson); and the backstage of the Diamond Theatre (Campbell Silverstein, who serves as Associate Director on the project, and Charly Evon Simpson). NY Times: With Healing in Mind, Stage Collaborators Take a Dip Together

“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

The Watering Hole allows viewers to re-acclimate to the space while also stepping into a new, nourishing, and accessible vision for in-person theatre. Audiences move through a series of 10 installations, which derive their inspiration in part from water itself, as they flow from all directions into a larger whole. While individual artists have brought their singular aesthetics and experiences to spaces within the building, they’ve collaborated fluidly throughout a process that reframes theatre-making outside its usual hierarchies.

“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Says Miranda Haymon, “I’m so excited to bring together such a range of artists, who identify with given roles—designer or writer or director—but also identify in some way as multi-hyphenates. Everyone has surprises, everyone has ways they have not been known to the industry, and they are working on this piece in that way. We really wanted to highlight that aspirational space—not just for how we want to collaborate within the theatre landscape, but also how we bring our full selves to the watering hole, and what that means as artists of color and people generating new work.“

“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“The Beach Explored” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“Spray Cap” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“Wings and Rings” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“Ebb and Flow” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“Ebb and Flow” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
“This Room Is a Broken Heart” in The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

COVID-19 Safety Measures

Though Signature Theatre’s plans are subject to change as CDC, state, and city guidelines develop, the organization’s current policy is to require physical distancing and masking to keep audiences and staff safe; all are required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Reduced capacity is limited to a maximum of 100 guests in the building at any given time. Maintaining equitable access for audiences, Signature Theatre is not at this time planning to require proof of vaccination and/or negative test results for guests.

Credits

Bloomberg Philanthropies is a Season Sponsor of Signature Theatre.

SigSpace is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre celebrates playwrights and gives them an artistic home. Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, producing several plays by each Resident Writer and delivering an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision.

Signature serves its mission by hosting Signature’s distinctive resident playwrights and cultural community at its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street designed by Frank Gehry Architects. At the Center, opened in January 2012, Signature continues its original Playwright-in-Residence model with Residency 1, a year-long intensive exploration of a single writer’s body of work. Residency 5, the only program of its kind, supports playwrights as they build a body of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions over a five-year period. The Legacy Program, launched during Signature’s 10th Anniversary, invites writers from both residencies to premiere or rediscover earlier plays. In 2019, Signature launched SigSpace, to bring free artistic programming to the Center’s public spaces and more fully activate Signature’s lobby as a free public workspace and social hub for New York artists.

The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City’s cultural landscape. The Center supports and encourages collaboration among artists, cultural organizations and local communities by providing free, public access throughout the space. In addition to its three intimate theatres, the Center features a studio theatre, a rehearsal studio and a public café, bar and bookstore.

Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature Theatre is now led by Artistic Director, Paige Evans and Executive Director, Harold Wolpert. Signature’s Resident Playwrights include: Edward Albee, Annie Baker, Lee Blessing, Martha Clarke, Will Eno, Horton Foote, María Irene Fornés, Athol Fugard, John Guare, Stephen Adly Guirgis, A.R. Gurney, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Kenneth Lonergan, Dave Malloy, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, Sam Shepard, Anna Deavere Smith, Regina Taylor, Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, Lauren Yee, The Mad Ones, and members of the historic Negro Ensemble Company: Charles Fuller, Leslie Lee, and Samm-Art Williams.

Signature and our artists have been recognized with Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur “Genius” grants, and Lucille Lortel, Obie, Drama Desk, AUDELCO, and Artios Awards as well as the 50/50 Award for Gender Parity in Theatre, among many other distinctions. In 2014, Signature became the first New York City theatre to receive the Regional Theatre Tony Award for our body of work and accomplishments as an institution. For more information, please visit signaturetheatre.org.

The groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, which recently celebrated its one millionth ticket sold, guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2032. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible, in part, by Lead Partner -The Pershing Square Foundation.

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Signature Theatre Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Asian Imagination: How Art and Theatre Can Combat AAPI Violence Featuring David Henry Hwang, Lauren Yee, Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Courtney Reed, Joe Ngo and Diep Tran on May 26; AAPI Heritage Month Virtual Happy Hour on May 27

Watch: CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Cast members Abraham Kim, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, and Courtney Reed, Playwrights Katori Hall, Samuel D. Hunter, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, and Dave Malloy Set for Signature Theatre’s 30th Anniversary Virtual Celebration; Anna Deavere Smith to Receive Signature Outstanding Artist Award

May 18: TCG Gala to Feature Performances from Market Theatre and CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Cast members Francis Jue, Abraham Kim, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, Courtney Reed, and Moses Villarama

May 3-11: Asian Cultural Council Presents Virtual EAST WEST FEST with The Sống Collective’s Curated Lineup Featuring Joe Ngo, Anu Bhatt, Ruby Ibarra, C.B. Lee, Stacy Nguyen, Bao Phi, Sara Porkalob; Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Viet Thanh Nguyen and Multimedia Artist Tiffany Chung; Mai Lê Hô and More 

Watch: CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Cast members Abraham Kim, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, and Courtney Reed, Playwrights Katori Hall, Samuel D. Hunter, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, and Dave Malloy Set for Signature Theatre’s 30th Anniversary Virtual Celebration; Anna Deavere Smith to Receive Signature Outstanding Artist Award 

Dec. 21: Signature Theatre Presents SigSpace Arts Lunch with PARADISE BLUE Castmembers Kristolyn Lloyd, Francois Battiste, Simone Missick, J. Alphonse Nicholson and Keith Randolph Smith

Watch: Signature Theatre to Present Reunion Reading of Suzan-Lori Parks’ THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD Featuring Brittany Bellizeare, William DeMeritt, Patrena Murray, Reynaldo Piniella, Julian Rozzell, Roslyn Ruff, Mirirai Sithole, David Ryan Smith, Daniel J. Watts, Jamar Williams, and Amelia Workman

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Lauren Yee and Joe Ngo Launch CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Video Challenge as a Fundraiser for Khmer and Black-Led Organizations 

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, HALFWAY BITCHES GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN, A STRANGE LOOP, ROMEO & BERNADETTE, THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES and More Nominated for Off Broadway Alliance Awards 

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SOFT POWER Receives Eleven Drama Desk Nominations, HALFWAY BITCHES GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN Receives Eight Nods; Full List of Nominees 

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Yellow Sound Label to Release the Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Featuring Francis Jue, Abraham Kim, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, Courtney Reed and Moses Villarama on May 8

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Video and Photos: Inside the 2nd Asian American Night of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Signature Theatre 

Inside Asian American Night at Signature’s First Preview of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND 

Lauren Yee and Jackie Sibblies Drury Receive 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards at the 12th Annual “Mimi” Awards

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