Founding artistic director George Strus has announced the launch of Breaking the Binary Theatre, a nonprofit organization dedicated to new work development and community-building for transgender, nonbinary and Two-Spirit+ (TNB2S+) individuals. The organization is committed to a year-round effort to present theater by and for TNB2S+ artists.
TNB2S+ individuals are defined by the organization, per its website, as "any person who does not correspond with the male and female binary and is transgender, non-binary, Two-Spirit, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, agender, gender expansive, bigender, gender fluid or otherwise lives outside of the cisnormative gender binary."
The news comes on the heels of the inaugural Breaking the Binary Theatre Festival, which was held in October of 2022. The festival took place at Theatre Row and featured eight reading presentations. This year's festival will run Oct. 23, 30, 2023, at a venue to be announced. Submissions for the festival are now open through March 12.
Several Broadway notables have worked with the organization in various capacities, including L Morgan Lee, Adam Chanler-Berat and Justin David Sullivan, all of whom performed in a December 2022 week-long workshop of Shualee Cook's "Cercle Hermaphroditos," which Lee also directed.
Breaking the Binary Theatre is set to begin several new initiatives in addition to its annual festival. The BTB New Works Program will provide developmental readings and workshops for new work by TNB2S+ artists; the 2023 Falco and Steinman BTB Residency Program will sponsor two artists to attend the New Roots Queer Residency at Walhalla Farms; and the BTB Commissioning Program, which will award $10,000 to a commissioned artist to develop a new work.
A handful of Broadway community members serve on BTB's voluntary advisory board, known as the Core Community, including scenic designer Adam Rigg, actor-writer John Cameron Mitchell, actor TomÃ¡s Matos and actor-writer Ty Defoe, among others.
Producer Daryl Roth is among BTB's founders, while producers Jordan Roth and Richie Jackson are among new supporters.
"Following the positive response of last October's Festival, the urgency for a space like Breaking the Binary continued to grow as the longstanding history of TNB2S+ artists being misrepresented and underpaid for their work in the American theater continued," Strus said in a statement. "As we expand, we continue to rectify this head-on by holistically centering TNB2S+ artists and their visions, all the while still compensating each artist equitably (with all hourly wages based upon New York's Living Wage)."