NEW YORK CITY: New York City deputy mayor Richard Buery has named Brooklyn-based writer and director Bryan Doerries as the city’s Public Artist in Residence (PAIR). The announcement comes from the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services and Department of Cultural Affairs. As part of his residency, Doerries will stage 60 free performances in all five NYC boroughs in 2017 and 2018.
Doerries is currently the artistic director of Theater of War, which presents readings of classical Greek and contemporary plays, in order to build dialogue between veterans and civilians. Its programming also addresses public health and social issues, such as combat-related psychological injury, end-of-life care, police and community relations, prison reform, gun violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse and addiction.
“It has been profoundly humbling to work with women and men who have lived lives of mythological proportions, who have loved and lost, and who know the meaning of sacrifice,” said Doerries in a statement. “We are deeply honored and grateful for this opportunity to bring our work to veterans and other populations all over the city, using timeless stories to help communities build a shared vocabulary for discussing trauma and isolation, but also resilience and paths toward healing.”
The first PAIR event will be at Greene Space on March 20. It will a reading of Sophocles’s Ajax and Philoctetes, featuring Paul Giamatti, Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, and Reg E. Cathey. The event will be livestreamed on the website for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which is funding PAIR through a $1,365 million grant. Other scheduled community events will be held at Brooklyn Public Library’s Crown Heights branch (April 6), the Main Auditorium at Susan Wagner High School, Staten Island (April 14), Rockaway Theatre Company in Rockaway, Queens (April 17), and the Pregones + Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in the Bronx (May 6).
PAIR is the first city-wide public health program implemented by the Department of Veterans’ Services. Brooklyn Public Library is a coproducer of the residency.
“Our deep connection with the arts is a distinct marker of our great city and a source of pride for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “This pioneering public artist residency is poised to have a tremendous impact on New York over the next two years by helping to better integrate our veterans into the social fabric of our city and to better educate communities of the impact of war on our city’s veterans. Theater of War’s singular approach to addressing social issues through performance will bring classical Greek plays to life for a modern, diverse audience of communities across New York City.”