A Letter from Artistic Director, Stephen Shelley
The BEAT Festival is a time for Brooklyn to celebrate its own. A time for us as artists and audience to gather and witness the world-class talent within our own borough. A moment for each of us to help nourish the artistic talent living next door, across the street and around the block.
BEAT is somewhat modeled after the great European summer theater festivals. If you have ever attended one of these, you perhaps recall that unmistakable feeling of magic in the air as audiences begin to gather around the theater. Around every corner there seems to be something touched by the festival. Local businesses stay open to accommodate the late arriving crowds. The evenings seem to sprawl with activity and communion. The performances present fresh and remarkable work, inspiring and transcending. It is a time for communion and the stretching of the imagination. At BEAT, there will be unique talents, vibrant conversation and events which unify and connect.
Each year, the BEAT Festival presents contemporary work in multiple venues in a variety of different neighborhoods across the borough. In our first three years, most of our venues have been non-traditional spaces, such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library and Green-Wood Cemetery. We present multiple artists or groups within the festival across the disciplines of theater, dance and voice. Many of these tour the borough, performing in many of these unique spaces. This allows for diverse acts and audiences to engage each other, a core focus of our mission.
We are also extremely interested in new forms of performance. In 2012, our inaugural festival, we were thrilled to present Elevator Repair Service’s performance installation Shuffle within the stacks of the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. In 2013, we created three unique “MashUp” performances within the Brooklyn Museum, which involved multiple artists simultaneously performing in differing galleries across the building. Audiences were then invited to choose their own adventure within this sprawling landscape of performance. In the 2014 Festival, we created an immersive tour of Green-Wood Cemetery titled Crossing Over, highlighted by four, unique, dance installations presented along the path.
Brooklyn is unique in that it is a series of smaller, distinct communities forming a whole. The BEAT Festival highlights these differing areas, while also unifying the borough via the remarkable talent living and working here. Clearly, this is an ambitious undertaking. Each year we assemble a very talented production and marketing team. If you are interested in joining us, please click here to learn more about our values and a listing of roles we are currently looking to fill.
Are you an artist who would like to connect with us? Or, perhaps you have an idea for the festival? An event you think would be successful? LET US KNOW. We have no intention of making the festival curation a closed-door affair. Everything is open and there is no possible way that we could know about everything happening here in Brooklyn. Please fill-out the form on this page to share your idea with us. We hope to hear from you!
Thank you for reading this letter and for visiting the BEAT website. We’re thrilled to be part of this extraordinary movement to celebrate Brooklyn’s own. Will you join us?