In 1958 when Joe Cino opened the doors of his Caffé and invited members of a burgeoning arts scene to use the 10 by 10 foot stage as their playground, it started a revolution. Theatre artists, poets and musicians, puppeteers and clowns, playwrights and directors, dancers and actors all found a home at the Caffé Cino. It was a place that valued diversity, encouraged experimentation an collaboration and often witnessed groundbreaking work that pushed at the very boundaries of the theatrical art form. The recipient of the 2015 Caffé Cino Fellowship Award shares these qualities.
|Theatre 167 receives the 2015 Caffé Cino Fellowship Award|
Theatre 167 was born in one of the most unique and diverse neighborhoods in the world, Jackson Heights, Queens – where 167 different languages are spoken on a daily basis. This company of artists embraced the character of their home and dedicated their company to investigating the cultural and artistic intersections, boundaries and borders of storytelling. Through productions like 167 Tongues, You Are Now the Owner of this Suitcase, The Church of Why Not and Jackson Heights 3AM, Theatre 167 derives inspiration from their multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multifaith community to explore how both individual and collective perspectives enrich the theatrical experience.They perform their work in venues throughout New York City, playing to: what one critic called “the most diverse audience I’ve ever seen.”
Their works have been presented as part of the World’s Fair Play Festival, The Theatre: Village Festival and has even been reimagined as an immersive theatrical exhibit for the Queens Museum. Like Joe Cino, Theatre 167 strives to create a nurturing space where artists come together to create work that elucidates their experiences and reflects their society. Through collaboration they work to build a new “artistic language” that celebrates and amplifies the voices of their community.
The recipients of the Caffé Cino Fellowship also receive a grant to be used towards an Off-Off-Broadway production. Theatre 167 used that money to help fund their production of You Are Now the Owner of This Suitcase, which will run April 9th - May 1st at the West End Theatre. Read more about this project.
In addition to the grant, this last year, we initiated a new and powerful tradition by passing on Joe Cino's ring. Joe Cino’s ring has become something of a legend and has passed through the hands of some of the most influential artists in our community including: Joe, Lanford Wilson, Kenny Burgess, Magie Dominic, Doric Wilson, Daniel Talbott, Martin Denton and Rochelle Denton and the Founders of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. This ring is a symbol of the circle of our community and has become an article of faith – faith that each new recipient will carry on the traditions of the Caffé Cino in their own endeavors.
From this time forward, Joe Cino’s ring will be passed each year from one Fellowship Award recipient to the next. We hope that it will serve to remind us of our rich artistic heritage and the independent spirit that binds us together.
Check out You Are Now the Owner of This Suitcase and join us in supporting this incredible theatre company by making a donation.
The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award grant is funded in part by the Donn Russell Fund.