NEEDING IT: Solo Performance in Queer Community

A Helix Queer Performance Network Workshop Instructed by Heather María Ács

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Are you hungry for a queer-centered space to develop and explore live performance? In this class, we will study queer performance practices and histories (shall we say “quistories?”) in New York City. This class will introduce new techniques while strengthening participants’ natural talents, so artists from any discipline and level of experience are welcome, including those brand new to performance.

Each week, we will explore different queer artists and arts movements along with exercises, games, and techniques related to their work, including, but not limited to performance art, theatre, film, movement, literary arts, drag, and interdisciplinary performance.

We will discuss the interplay between the individual artist and a broader sense of collectivity, especially as it relates to queer communities’ struggles against intersectional oppressions while celebrating queer ingenuity and resilience. Queer people have always been foundational to cultural production, and often forerunners in major artistic movements. It is important that we learn our “quistories” in order to continue these artistic legacies. We are not just cultural consumers. Queer people are, have always been, and always will be culture creators.

The instructor, performer/writer/director, Heather María Ács will work closely with students to identify individual topics of interest and personal artistic goals to help students create passionate, risk-taking performance.

The course will culminate in a public performance of original student work.

NEEDING IT was originally developed by Dan Fishback and is a project of the Helix Queer Performance Network.

Heather María Ács is a working-class raised, Appalachian, mixed-race Anglo-Xicana performer, writer, filmmaker, drag queen, and cultural worker based in Brooklyn. Her work has been presented at festivals, theatres, galleries, conferences, and universities internationally. She is the Co-Director of Heels on Wheels, a queer femme-inine spectrum, all genders performance group, who tours annually and published the LAMBDA Literary Award-winning queer performance anthology, Glitter & Grit. [] She has worked with Cherríe Moraga, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Nao Bustamante, Taylor Mac, Karen Finley, Lois Weaver, Steven Soderbergh, Paula Pell (SNL), and Jill Soloway (Transparent), and J. Ed Araiza (SITI Company). She has been a teaching artist in public schools for over 15 years and currently teaches Arts Education at the New School University’s School for Drama. (Photocredit: Shameless Photography)

The Helix Queer Performance Network is a collaboration between La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, seeking to nurture emerging queer performers, unite diverse queer communities, and celebrate the legacy and lineage of queer performance in New York City. Through educational initiatives, innovative stage productions and challenging public conversations that prioritize diversity across age, race, class, and gender, Helix aims to foster an inter-generational, multi-racial, multi-gender performance community where artists can document a broad spectrum of queer experience in the context of a rich artistic history.

This program was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.


Needing It History

2018/19Chewy Hannah Yukon
Debayani Kar
Moréna Wells
nicole shanté
olaiya olayemi
Oskar Sinclair
sára abdullah
2017/18Azu Davidson (dream boi)
Blaze Ferrer
cat archer
E. Wray
Gabriella Carmichael
Kate McDonough
Nana Chinara
2016/17Augustus Heagerty
Danni Hu-Yang
Junie Jones
Kedian Keohan
Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence
Summer Luk
Ghaith Tarabulsi
El Roy Red
Juan Reyna
Anastasia Eckerson
Thomas Gibbons
Kalon Hayward
David Henninger
Linda La Montanez
Deesha Narichania
Teshale Nuer
Alexander Paris
Jacob Tobia
2014/15Emma Alabaster
Christian Hansen Appel
Doug Keeler
Bex Kwan
Anthony Laws
Alex Lopez
Jordan Martin
Yaya McKoy
Mariel Reyes
Torrey Tremayne
2013/14Mieke D
Samantha Galarza
Tova Katz
Mette Loulou von Kohl
Rachel Eilerman Messer