About this project
On a commercial street in Brooklyn, a parent and her child arrive at a Laundromat marked with a simple sign. They're greeted by a friendly owner wearing an unusual costume who encourages them to take off their coats and put them in the wash. The child rushes inside, laughing at a young woman who is throwing colorful fall leaves into an oversized dryer. A laundry attendant urges other kids who are just arriving to help him untangle an unruly mass of hundreds of neon tights. Another child simply passing by pulls his dad over to look inside the glass storefront. They're encouraged to stay for the afternoon and join in on the fun.
This is WASHETERIA, a site-specific theater experience for children and adults created by designer Louisa Thompson and directors Adrienne Kapstein and Sarah Benson, with educational curriculum developed for students and teachers of Brooklyn Arbor, a nearby public elementary school.
Set Designer Louisa Thompson will turn an abandoned storefront into fantastical Laundromat, rehearsal space, and theater. Here, an extraordinary group of artists—César Alvarez, Tea Alagić, Charise Castro Smith, and Annie Tippe —will create theatrical episodes for all-age audiences inspired by the world of the Laundromat and the diverse community of people and objects it contains.
We are intentionally producing WASHETERIA in a rapidly changing area of South Williamsburg that is adjacent to a major highway and located where three very different neighborhoods intersect. Inspired by the fact that storefront Laundromats are some of the most inclusive, civic spaces in New York City, our hope is that we can create an easily accessible, familiar, and welcoming street-level space that will bring positive activity to an underutilized block and encourage neighbors to stop in and get to know one another.
WASHETERIA performances will be open to the public, and our partnership with Brooklyn Arbor allows their students to enjoy a more in-depth experience. Students and their families will be able to easily walk to the “theater” as it is local to them, witness the creation of new work through the storefront windows on their way to and from school, and participate in the creation through engaging, exciting classroom visits and field trips to the WASHETERIA site.
We need your help now to open WASHETERIA in late March. Your support will enable us to:
- Create a safe, fantastical theater space for children from across New York City and their families.
- Hire a company of actors to devise episodes in the WASHETERIA space.
- Pay our teaching artists for multiple classroom visits and 5 field trips to WASHETERIA.
Please help us bring WASHETERIA to life this spring!
YOU WILL MAKE WASHETERIA HAPPEN!
WASHETERIA was launched with the leadership support of the Children’s Theater Foundation of America who recognized the project with their inaugural Art of the Matter award and a $40,000 grant. You can read more about the CTFA and their wonderful work at childrenstheatrefoundation.org.
This incredible grant has allowed us to get where we are today, but we cannot open WASHETERIA in March without your help.
Specifically, we really need your support to rent and renovate the WASHETERIA space, underwrite artist fees, and pay teaching artists.
Before we can fill our storefront space with the washers, dryers, clothing, music and magic of WASHETERIA, we must:
- insulate and heat the space to make it comfortable for you and for our performers
- build out dedicated performance and backstage space
- repair flooring and entryways to ensure that the space is safe for you and our company
The sooner we’re able to move into the WASHETERIA space, the sooner we can begin devising episodes with our wonderful company and bring Brooklyn Arbor students and teaching artists on field trips to the site.
By giving a gift to WASHETERIA now you will become an integral part of our wonderful team. Every donation, no matter how big or small, is critically important and will enable us to open WASHETERIA!
WHO IS CREATING WASHETERIA?
Accomplished scenic and costume designer Louisa Thompson (BLASTED and ELECTIVE AFFINITIES at Soho Rep., Elevator Repair Service’s GATZ, and many more) is the driving generative artist behind WASHETERIA. She has been dreaming of bringing this special project to life with partners Adrienne Kapstien and Sarah Benson for almost a decade.
With WASHETERIA, Louisa, Adrienne, and Sarah have brought together an extraordinary group of experimental theater artists to create new work for all age audiences. These are all artists who are always questioning how to transform art form of theater—artists who embrace non-hierarchical thinking, a commitment to the truly theatrical, and innovation in form and narrative. Now they’re harnessing those same impulses to create theater for young audiences, a first for almost all of them.
Our collaboration with Brooklyn Arbor is being developed with the help of Karina Naumer, a leading educational theater consultant who is working closely with teachers at the school to align the content of their classroom visits and field trips with the New York City Department of Education Blueprint for Theater Arts.
To thank you for joining us on our WASHETERIA journey, we’re happy to offer you and your little one exclusive rewards like unique WASHETERIA swag handmade by designer Louisa Thompson, family passes to a performance and a meet-and-greet with the cast, and a special event just for you in the WASHETERIA space. Best of all, you’ll know that you’ve played an integral role in bringing unique, innovative theater to families across New York City. Thank you!
IS MY DONATION TAX-DEDUCTIBLE?
Yes! Soho Rep. is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, so all Kickstarter donations are eligible as tax-deductible donations. The amount of your gift that’s tax-deductible depends on how many tangible benefits you opt to receive with your donation. After the campaign ends, we’ll send you an email confirming which benefits you’d like to receive and outlining the value associated with each one. You’ll also receive an official tax-receipt from Soho Rep. for your records.
Risks and challenges
WASHETERIA marks the first time that Soho Rep. has ever made theater for all-age audiences. This is a big risk, and it’s also an exciting opportunity for our artists and for you. We have a tremendous amount of experience developing highly collaborative, innovative, site-specific new work from the ground up. So in many ways, the approach we’ve taken to developing WASHETERIA mirrors the way we work on every one of our shows, but in other ways it’s completely different. We’re learning a lot!
Our biggest challenge so far has been finding the WASHETERIA site. It was harder than we thought to find a suitable space for our project within walking distance of Brooklyn Arbor. We’ve finally found a wonderful, huge storefront with a friendly landlord. He’s inspired by what we're doing in the neighborhood, and excited to partner with us. We're eager to get started transforming his former autoparts store into a safe, fun, and beautiful rehearsal and performance space for children and their families.
With nearly 40 years of experience producing high-quality, innovative and risk-taking theater under our belt, Soho Rep. is ready to meet the challenges of WASHETERIA. We have a great and experienced team in place for this production. Please join us on this adventure by giving a gift to support WASHETERIA!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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