Naked Angels is committed to strengthening theater artists and their new work through developmental programming and production.
Naked Angels was formed in 1986 by a group of restless and ambitious artists reacting to a void in the theater community for new and creative voices. The company took its name from the John Tyrell book, which referred to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and other Beats as “a generation that wanted to break out of convention and scream.” As a young group, the artists felt the same way; needing a place where, through the medium of theater, they could show the world a different perspective of the times. Sometimes outraged, often irreverent, occasionally absurd, and always intelligent, enthusiastic and fun, Naked Angels’ work was a spark to which audiences were quickly drawn. The Space, as their theater on 17th Street was known, soon became a vital, thriving crossroads where talented theater artists met and collaborated: the destination of choice for those seeking a truly celebratory theatrical experience.
Today, Naked Angels operates under the leadership of a single Artistic Director, with some of the Founding Company still acting as a support network. And though it’s been quite a few years since Naked Angels has had a home of its own, its celebratory spirit continues today wherever and whenever its programming is present.
Naked Angels has served its ever-growing community of theater artists through core developmental programming and full-scale productions.
- The 3-Step Formula (Tuesdays@9, 1st Mondays, Angels in Progress) has presented thousands of excerpts and hundreds of readings and workshops over the years, all of which promote accessibility and a communal environment in the development of new work.
- Naked Radio is a monthly podcast of new short plays and music that allows Naked Angels to develop and produce theater for audiences who increasingly call for culture at their fingertips, challenging our artists to realize content that is both dynamic and mobile. This innovative program confirms our position as a company that embraces new theatrical form and function.
- 3Thursdays is Naked Angels’ education outreach program that teaches New York City public high school students how to express themselves through playwriting and to collaborate with peers and mentors. Led by Founding Company member Jean Marie McKee, this beloved program not only provides instruction on writing skill and technique, but also supports our belief that theater can be a tool for self-confidence and courage when it’s needed most.
- The Issues Project embodies the company’s highest artistic aspiration: a community-based theater that is social, diverse, and dialectic. It challenges the disparate talents of the company’s community of writers, directors, actors, musicians and filmmakers to speak out against a pressing social or political concern. The result is raised awareness to a particular cause or organization by creating a piece of theater that is both provocative and significant. For over 20 years the company has taken on controversial issues from gun control to the environment, faith to human rights, in what very well might be the signature work of Naked Angels.