Epic puts theatre about civic, social, and ethical issues at the center of a conversation about who we are as Americans. We actively reach out to brand new audiences and artists to become catalysts, listeners, and participants in this conversation; and young people are at the very heart of everything we do. Epic artists see themselves as activists who use theatre as their engine of change, and as such Epic makes bold theatre that helps bend the arc of history toward social justice.
Epic Remix is an after-school youth development program at three NYC Public High Schools in Lower Manhattan, Harlem, and the Bronx, that culminates with students performing alongside professional theatre artists in fully produced Shakespeare productions. Remix students accomplish a great feat. They fully debate the social and political questions of the play, decode the meaning of Shakespeare’s text, and weave their own writing into the fabric of the script. The students work with Epic Artists as mentors and cast mates to rehearse and perform this production, speaking Shakespeare’s language with truth and courage while creating a bridge from these plays to their time through their own words and actions.
In November of 2009, Epic Theatre Ensemble was the proud recipient of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities for our after-school Shakespeare Remix program. Epic Artistic Director Melissa Friedman and student Shana Brown went to the White House to accept the award from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Epic’s Shakespeare Remix is supported in part The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, the Meringoff Family Foundation, NYC Division of Cultural Affairs, Axe-Houghton Foundation, Michael Tuch Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Remix Angels Sophie & Gordon Elliott.