Long Wharf Theatre Announces Venue for Live From the Edge by UNIVERSES

January 6, 2023

Long Wharf Theatre’s first project beyond Sargent Drive brings longtime collaborators UNIVERSES to Space Ballroom, one of the area’s most acclaimed

New Haven, CT (January 5, 2023)Long Wharf Theatre today announced Live From the Edge – a production by Long Wharf Theatre’s Mellon Foundation playwrights-in-residence, UNIVERSES – will be staged at Space Ballroom at 295 Treadwell Street in Hamden, CT. The centrally-located venue is known widely in Greater New Haven for its legendary history of presenting live, cutting-edge performances. The production opens on April 27 and runs until May 21, 2023, and marks the first Long Wharf Theatre show after leaving the space at Sargent Drive. Tickets go on sale for Long Wharf Theatre members on Monday, January 9 and for the general public on Monday, January 30.

“UNIVERSES shares Long Wharf Theatre’s commitment of telling stories that reflect our world and we are so honored to have them bring Live From the Edge to our audiences this spring,” said Jacob G. Padrón, Artistic Director, Long Wharf Theatre. “Putting artists in the driver’s seat and partnering with an iconic local venue like Space Ballroom – in a dynamic central location that’s accessible to our audiences – is emblematic of everything that we hope the future of Long Wharf Theatre will represent. This production provides our community the first glimpse of how Long Wharf Theatre aspires to be a theatre of possibility with this new model.”

UNIVERSES, a National Theater Company of Color led by founders and Artistic Directors Steven and Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, has held its position as Mellon Foundation playwrights-in-residence at Long Wharf Theatre since 2020. The playwrights-in-residence program is designed to embed working playwrights in the day-to-day of a regional theatre company, so that the artists can inform institutional decisions and programming. UNIVERSES joined Long Wharf Theatre after Jacob G. Padrón assumed the role of Artistic Director, building off of Padrón’s collaborative history with the Sapps. 

“As we embark on our next chapter, its fitting that our first show, beyond our old home, features our longtime collaborators and partners, UNIVERSES, demonstrating our commitment to bringing the same standard of work that our audiences have come to know for generations now,” said Kit Ingui, Managing Director, Long Wharf Theatre. “UNIVERSES has staged Live From the Edge before with tremendous success, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to bring such a uniquely wonderful production to our Long Wharf Theatre audiences at Space Ballroom.” 

The production will showcase UNIVERSES’ unique brand of fusion theatre in a “best of” evening that tracks the evolution of the ensemble’s poetic language – from childhood rhymes and community rituals, to poetry, theatre, hip-hop, and gospel. Redefining the concept of theatre and its audience, Live From the Edge is a unique performance event that turns the production into a communal act. The show draws inspiration from the audience – some elements change night to night because audience interaction and involvement is a core feature of the experience. 

“UNIVERSES is excited to continue our partnership with Long Wharf Theatre and return to the New Haven community with our show Live From the Edge at Space Ballroom,” said Steven Sapp, Co-Founder of UNIVERSES. “We have a history of performing in the region and have long standing friendships and relationships with many community members and cultural institutions. We cannot wait to return to Long Wharf Theatre as they begin this bold new chapter of producing and presenting work across the region.”

“We are thrilled that Long Wharf Theatre has chosen Space Ballroom to present Live From the Edge and become a part of the venue’s legacy,” said Keith Mahler and Mark Nussbaum, venue promoters for Space Ballroom. “We are excited to broaden our programming and bring our communities together.”

In February 2022, Long Wharf Theatre announced that it is leaving 222 Sargent Drive to start an exciting new chapter of creating theatre, without barriers, in spaces and stages across Greater New Haven. Over the next few years, the company will produce in-person and virtual programming in partnership with local civic, cultural, and public institutions.

This year, the company moved its administrative offices to New Haven’s Audubon Arts District, joining the city’s vibrant arts community in a more central, accessible location. 

In December, Long Wharf Theatre announced a new formalized partnership with Southern Connecticut State University, which includes an internship program, special student discounts, and a special benefit event featuring The Crucible at SCSU’s John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts in the spring.

About UNIVERSES

Founded in The Bronx, New York in 1995, UNIVERSES is a National Theater Company of Color dedicated to the creation, development, production, touring, community engagement, and educational dissemination of new theatrical and performance works for stage and screen. It supports artists within and outside of its core company to foster artistic excellence in the American Theater. Its core company consists of a revolving and evolving set of multi-disciplined writers and performers who fuse Poetry, Theater, Music, and Dance to bring American voices to life through moving, challenging and entertaining theatrical works. Led by its Founders/Artistic Directors, Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, the core group of writers breaks the bounds of traditional theatre; building on UNIVERSES’ aesthetic and unique brand to invite/challenge old and new generations of theater crafters as well as theatergoers and newcomers to envision a new American Theater. 

 About Space Ballroom

Space Ballroom is an all ages independent music venue located in Hamden, CT. Formerly known as The Outer Space, Space Ballroom reopened its doors in 2018 and has since hosted shows featuring national touring artists and Connecticut’s best local musicians. The venue is a general admission space with standing room for concerts and seating for comedy and special events and features two bars that stock craft beer, liquor, soda, water, and snacks.