The Civilians is a theater company that creates ambitious and exuberant new theater that creatively interrogates our lived experience. For the second installment of their residency, The Civilians present “Liveness: A Performance Made From The WNYC Archives.” The evening features performers channeling the voices recorded in various interviews. The original recordings are from a time when WNYC aired 90 minutes of free-flowing conversation with experimental filmmakers and radical poets, peppered with awkward pauses and the background sounds of playing children. What emerges is a portrait of 1970s New York City through the lens of its most iconic artists. The Civilians embody those voices from a bygone era conjuring the art they made and the city they defined in all its gritty human texture.
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Founded in 2001, The Civilians is dedicated to ambitious and exuberant new theater that creatively interrogates our lived experience; questions and tests the stories that shape our world; and awakens new thinking and perceptions. Its signature work is “investigative theater”—projects created through field research, community collaborations, and other methods of in-depth inquiry. Shows originated with The Civilians include Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, cited by The New York Times as the “4th Best Play of the Past 25 Years,” and Lucas Hnath’s Dana H., recently on Broadway and included in Top 10 of 2021 lists by The New York Times and Time magazine. Other shows include José Rivera’s Another Word for Beauty, and many works with composer Michael Friedman: Gone Missing, Pretty Filthy, Paris Commune, and more.
The Civilians has participated in several BAM Next Wave Festivals, has been produced at many major regional and Off-Broadway theaters, and was the first theater company to be Artist-in-Residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With Ghostlight Records, The Michael Friedman Recording Project is creating nine albums of our founding member’s works. The company sustains a number of artistic programs including new work development, a cabaret series for new musicals, the R&D Group new work lab, the online journal Extended Play, and more.