Story/Teller Arts: Aleshea Harris with Nissy Aya

By Erin Salvi posted 06-03-2022 09:50


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 3, 2022 ||  CONTACTS: Corinna Schulenburg | | 212-609-5941            

The Center for Fiction and Theatre Communications Group Present
Story/Teller Arts: Aleshea Harris with Nissy Aya
Event co-presented with The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, NY on June 8

New York, NYThe Center for Fiction, a 200-year-old literary nonprofit that has created an immersive home for readers and writers in downtown Brooklyn, and Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, will co-present Story/Teller Arts: Aleshea Harris with Nissy Aya on June 8 at 7pm ET at The Center for Fiction, 15 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217, and via livestream. This event represents the fifth collaboration between The Center and TCG, with past events featuring Jackie Sibblies Drury and Claudia Rankine; Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; Heidi Schreck and Paula Vogel; and Sarah Ruhl and Matthew Aucoin.

This event celebrates TCG Books’ recent publication of Is God Is / What to Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris. Is God Is had its world premiere at Soho Rep. in the winter of 2018. The play later opened at The Royal Court in London in the fall of 2021. What to Send Up When It Goes Down received its world premiere at the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice in Los Angeles in the fall of 2015. The play received its New York premiere by The Movement Theatre Company at A.R.T./New York Theatres in the fall of 2018. Actors from both plays—Jessica Frances Dukes, Alfie Fuller, Kai Heath, Beau Thom, Denise Manning, Alana Raquel Bowers, Javon Minter, and Naomi Lorrain—will perform a dramatic reading, followed by a conversation with Aleshea Harris and writer, educator, and cultural worker Nissy Aya.

“The Center for Fiction is an ideal partner to advance TCG’s conviction that plays are literature and worthy of the same resources, respect, and critical attention as any other form,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “We’re thrilled to return to The Center for this conversation between Aleshea Harris and Nissy Aya, and excited to witness Aleshea’s work performed by some of the actors who brought these important new plays to life.”

The event will take place at The Center for Fiction, 15 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at 7pm ET. In-person tickets include a $10 bookstore voucher, redeemable toward Is God Is / What to Send Up When It Goes Down on the night of the event. All registrants will receive a link to livestream the event. Learn more and acquire your tickets here. For press tickets, please contact Corinna Schulenburg at

Since its founding in 1984, TCG Books has grown to become North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 19 winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama on its book list. The book program commits to the life-long career of its playwrights, keeping all of their plays in print. TCG Books’ authors include: Annie Baker, Nilo Cruz, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Larissa FastHorse, Athol Fugard, Quiara Alegría Hudes, David Henry Hwang, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Young Jean Lee, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, Heidi Schreck, Stephen Sondheim, Paula Vogel, and August Wilson. TCG Books events are supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Aleshea Harris’s play Is God Is (directed by Taibi Magar at Soho Rep. and Ola Ince at The Royal Court) won the Relentless Award, an Obie Award for playwriting, the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. What to Send Up When It Goes Down, a play-pageant-ritual response to anti-Blackness, had its critically acclaimed NYC premiere in 2018 (directed by Whitney White and produced by The Movement Theatre Company), was featured in the April 2019 issue of American Theatre magazine, and received a rare special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The play was subsequently remounted at Woolly Mammoth, A.R.T., BAM, and Playwrights Horizons. Her newest play, On Sugarland (directed by Whitney White) premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in the spring of 2022. Awards: Windham-Campbell Prize, the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, The Horton Foote Prize, and the Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Harris is a two-time MacDowell Fellow, and has enjoyed residencies at The Hermitage Artist Retreat, Hedgebrook, and Djerassi.

The Center for Fiction is a literary nonprofit that brings diverse communities together to develop and share a passion for fiction. Founded in 1821 as the Mercantile Library of New York in Manhattan, the organization is now based in the heart of the Brooklyn cultural district, with a 18,000 sq. ft. facility that offers New Yorkers an immersive cultural experience centered on reading and writing. Throughout the year, The Center for Fiction provides a vast array of public programming, reading groups, and writing workshops. The First Novel Prize and Emerging Writer Fellowships help build literary careers, and KidsRead/KidsWrite programs inspire an early love of reading and writing in public school students with author-led events. In recent years, the organization’s programming has expanded to include storytelling in all its forms, integrating music, theater, dance, film, television, and the visual arts into its exploration of the best of fiction throughout history and today.

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 19 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. TCG is led by executive director and CEO Teresa Eyring and deputy director and COO Adrian Budhu.

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