TDF and Dream Center Harlem Announce H.E.R.S. Event

by Jacob Coakley
The H.E.R.S. Event is part of the Theatre Development Fund’s Create New York program
The H.E.R.S. Event is part of the Theatre Development Fund’s Create New York program

The Theatre Development Fund in New York City launched their Create New York Program to be a partnership between TDF and NYC community centers, using performing arts to engage adults “to strengthen their neighborhood, their city and themselves.” For the first year of the program they partnered with The Dream Center in Harlem. The first event of the new program, titled: H.E.R.S. — Healing Evolving Resolving Self — A Night of Empowerment, takes place Friday, Nov. 4, and is open to the public. 

H.E.R.S. – HEALING EVOLVING RESOLVING SELF - A NIGHT OF EMPOWERMENT, WILL BE THE FIRST COMMUNITY EVENT OF TDF’S CREATE NEW YORK PROGRAM AT THE DREAM CENTER HARLEM ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4 FROM 6PM – MIDNIGHT

CREATE NEW YORK - A MULTI-YEAR PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM BETWEEN TDF AND NYC COMMUNITY CENTERS THAT USES THE PERFORMING ARTS TO ENGAGE TEAMS OF ADULTS FROM THESE CENTERS TO STRENGTHEN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD, THE CITY AND THEMSELVES

October 19, 2016, New York, NY – Theatre Development Fund (TDF) and The Dream Center Harlem, partners in the first year of TDF’s CREATE NEW YORK (CNY) Program, have announced their first community event focusing on empowerment and whole living called H.E.R.S. – HEALING EVOLVING RESOLVING SELF – A NIGHT OF EMPOWERMENT, will take place at the Dream Center Harlem (205 West 119th Street, Manhattan) on Friday, November 4 from 6pm to midnight.  The event is open to the public and admission is free.

H.E.R.S - HEALING EVOLVING RESOLVING SELF, is being curated by the participants in the first group of the CREATE NEW YORK partnership with The Dream Center Harlem, a self-sustaining multi-generational extension of First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem. The H.E.R.S event was inspired by the group’s dialogue stimulated by attendance at theatrical events throughout the year. The event is focusing on empowerment and whole living through four specific lenses; Health and Wellness, Self-Image, Self-Love, and Sexuality. These topics are being explored through the performing arts, multi-media production, interactive themed workshops led by local experts, opportunities to purchase naturally made products, and to develop relationships with people in the Harlem community who share the same value system.

The 12 participants in this first CREATE NEW YORK group curated a series of shows to see that ultimately inspired the H.E.R.S. event.  The shows were: Hip Hop Nutcracker; Kinky Boots; White Rabbit, Red Rabbit; and Skeleton Crew.

“Everyone at TDF is extremely excited that the CREATE NEW YORK partnership has evolved to this event,” said Daniel Renner, TDF’s Director of Public Engagement. “This first CREATE NEW YORK group from the Dream Center Harlem has collectively taken the issues that sparked their imagination after attending four performing arts events and are turning them into a bigger conversation in their communities.  The mix of adventurous adults attending live performances around the city and community businesses engaging and hosting those adults, makes my heart happy. Art or culture or whatever you call it brought these people together and was the catalyst for what they, as cultural architects in their community, are now creating. Something larger. Something important. Something new.”

“I am so elated to be a part of this profound and timely event,” said Cathleen Meredith, The Dream Center’s Creative Innovative Designer and TDF’s first artist liaison. “Who we are as a unit of women is being expressed in a tangible and transformative way. We are powerful. We are evolving. We are listening to self and what she needs. We are H.E.R.S.”

Program for the night:

6:00 PM-6:45 PM - • Welcome party with the Fat Girls Dance squad.

• Check out our vendors selling all-natural products, grab a delicious bite at the food truck, and have a drink!

• If you bring your own reusable cup you will automatically be entered into our raffle to win all sorts of prizes!

• A warm welcome from the H.E.R.S creator team.

6:45 PM-9:45 PM

• Three interactive workshops will be offered over a three hour period. Each workshop will be ninety minutes in length. Each participant gets to choose two workshops out of the three to attend! The workshops will be in three separate categories: Health and Wellness, Self-Image/Self-Love and Sexuality.

10:00 PM-11:00 PM - Let the entertainment begin! There will be three surprise performances from local artists!

• WOW (Women of Wonder): A short film by our H.E.R.S creators.

• A huge thank you and announcement of raffle winners.

11:00 PM-Midnight - Continue celebrating our time together over drinks and live music!

CREATE NEW YORK seeks to partner with community centers in all five boroughs to bring together adults, who have traditionally attended little to no live performances. Groups of between 10-15 individuals connected with the community centers will complete a 3-year cycle with increasing autonomy every year. Group participants will democratically select 4 performing arts events annually from the multitude of offerings throughout NYC whose themes, aesthetics, or artists directly relate back to their shared interests and vision for their community. Over post-show discussions the groups share their personal experiences and the show’s relevance at a variety of neighborhood restaurants and community spaces.

As a culminating event for each of the 3 years, the CNY groups each create a community-based projects inspired by their theatrical adventures and their discussions that directly benefit their community at large (such as community forums, creating documentaries on local issues, community conferences, etc.). The projects are an investment by the group in their neighborhood and will aspire to positively impact the community and engage diverse residents in the events.

Earlier this month a second year of CREATE NEW YORK launched at The Dream Center with the creation of a second group as their first group entered its second year of participation. Also launched was a new CREATE NEW YORK partnership with Casita Maria Center for the Arts and Education in The Bronx.

About THE DREAM CENTER

Opened in 2012, The Dream Center’s mission is “to unlock and cultivate the dreams of the Harlem Community through transformative programs centered on Creative Arts, Leadership Development and Economic Empowerment.” In addition to its partnership with TDF, The Dream Center has also partnered with a multitude of community groups including Emblem Health, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Fathers First, Wadleigh High School, Frederick Douglass Academy, and Harlem Week. The modern state-of-the-art space caters primarily to a young millennial audience, but offers free programming six days a week to every age group: children, teens, adults, and seniors. Yoga, meditation,

summer teen programming, marketing, legal clinics, and business start-up classes are just a few of the 40 free classes offered at The Dream Center. 

About THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND (TDF)

TDF is a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, was created in the conviction that the live theatrical arts afford a unique expression of the human condition that must be sustained and nurtured. It is dedicated to developing diverse audiences for live theatre and dance, and strengthening the performing arts community in New York City. Since 1968, TDF’s programs have provided over 90 million people with access to performances at affordable prices and have returned over $2.5 billion to thousands of productions.

Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, outreach, access (including its Autism Theatre Initiative) and education programs — as well as its Costume Collection — have introduced thousands of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone, including students and people with disabilities.

TDF honors include a 2011 Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture, a 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence for its Open Doors Arts Education Program, a 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award for its support of the off-Off Broadway community, a 2013 Lucille Lortel honor for “Outstanding Body of Work” in support of the Off Broadway community, a 2016 “Friend of Off Broadway” honor from The Off Broadway Alliance and New York City’s 2016 TITLE II ADA Sapolin Public Service Award.  For more information about everything TDF does, please visit www.tdf.org.