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Program Description

Since 2008, EMERGENYC —the Hemispheric New York Emerging Performers Program— has been training emerging New York-based artists through a yearly program of workshops, lectures, and other events. We work with artist-activists who see their work as a vehicle for political expression and social change and who share a vision of New York City and its five boroughs as a portal to hemispheric artistic practices, identities, and histories. With an emphasis on activist performance and drawing on the experience of distinguished artists, activists, and scholars, the program encourages participants to take interdisciplinary leaps, mix styles and traditions, and develop incisive new work at the intersection of performance and politics. 

EMERGENYC 2017 and 2018 street performances

EMERGENYC 2020 Program Description

The Hemispheric Institute at New York University is now accepting applications for its thirteenth year of EMERGENYC, the Hemispheric New York Emerging Performers Program focused on political performance, EMERGENYC aims to support the development of hemispheric emerging artists through a program of workshops and events between Sunday, April 5th and Thursday, July 9th, 2020 (see “The Program” section below for details). 

We seek talented, committed and highly motivated emerging performers/activists/artists whose work aims to be a vehicle for political expression, and who examine the broad range of identities, practices and histories of the Americas through forms such as performance art, spoken word, urban interventions, satire, culture jamming, political cabaret, theater, creative activism, video performance, movement, and others. Drawing on the vitality of New York City as a hemispheric crossroads, the program will enable performers/activists to work with leading practitioners in the field, to take interdisciplinary leaps, and to develop their own strategies to use performance for social change.

The Program

Selected participants will take part in weekly Sunday workshops led by George Emilio Sánchez, as well as workshops by established artists who are leaders in the field of performance and politics. (Workshop leaders for 2020 will be announced soon—for a list of previous guest instructors, which have included: Alicia Grullón, Anna Deavere Smith, Avram Finkelstein, Carmelita Tropicana, Dan Fishback, Daniel Alexander Jones, Ebony Noelle Golden, Ed Woodham, Fulana, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, The Illuminator, Jennifer Miller, Karen Finley, Pamela Sneed, Pat Hoffbauer, Split Britches, Susana Cook, Tim Miller, Luis Rincón Alba as well as EMERGENYC alumni, like Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Ricardo Gamboa, among others).

We ask applicants to define issues that are important to them and explore how creative practices can harness their political voice. Past participants have explored themes of racism, racial stereotypes, and racial violence; LGBTQ rights; gender and sexuality; war and human rights; environmental justice; religion; and gentrification, etc. These engagements have resulted in the creation of workshops in community programs, interviews with members of various communities, and the creation of performance art pieces, multimedia installations, theatrical explorations, street performances, video art, and more.

The Program Schedule

The program will be divided into three phases:

Phase 1: every Sunday (10am-2pm) from April 5th to May 10th, participants work closely with George Emilio Sánchez in developing performance and activist strategies, such as Boalian techniques, performance art, and site-specific interventions.

Phase 2: intensive daily sessions (10am-4pm) from May 11th to May 17th, participants work closely with leading practitioners, and explore specific tactics for work in the field.

Phase 3: Sundays (10 am-2pm) from May 24th to June 28th, participants refine their work for a final presentation, building on the strategies explored through the workshops.

Final Performance presentations July 9, 2020: participants will share their strategies, performances, and installations during an evening program at Abrons Arts Center.


April 5th to July 9th, 2020

Program Fee

This program has a fee of $1000. A modest amount of financial aid will be available on a need basis. If your enrollment depends on financial aid, please let us know in your application.


Abrons Arts Center

466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street)

New York, NY 10002 


George Emilio Sánchez is our lead instructor, and over the years, guest faculty and presenters have included: Ann Pellegrini, Aaron Landsman, Anna Deavere Smith, Avram Finkelstein, Carmelita Tropicana, Craig Peterson, D’Lo, Dan Fishback, Daniel Alexander Jones, Debra Levine, Diana Taylor, Dulce Pinzón, Ebony Noelle Golden, Ed Woodham, ERRO Grupo, Favianna Rodríguez, Fulana (Andrea Thome, Lisandra Ramos, Marlène Ramírez-Cancio), Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Jennifer Miller, John Volker, Karen Finley, Karina Casiano, Leónidas Martín, Lorie Novak, Martha Wilson, Marya Warshaw, Maura DonahueNicolás Dumit Estévez Raful, Paloma McGregor, Pamela Sneed, Patrícia Hoffbauer, Peggy Shaw, Reverend Billy & Savitri D, Sonia Guiñansaca, Soomi Kim, Susana Cook, Tavia Nyong'o, The Illuminator, The Yes Men, Tim Miller, and UNIVERSES. Emerge alumni Aisha Jordan-Jerome, Ashley Brockington, Benjamin Lundberg, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Frantz Jerome, Kirya Traber, Jeca Rodríguez Colón, Mary Notari, and Ricardo Gamboa have also returned to lead workshops. 

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Read a 2017 article on NPR's Code Switch about Emerge: "In NYC, Activism Begins with Lessons in Theater"


Abrons Arts Center is wheelchair accessible. Accommodations will be made for participants who for some reason may be unable to access the space.

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