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Free Theater Workshops to Address Uptown Housing Issues

By Nigel Chiwaya | August 30, 2013 9:11am
 The People's Theater Project is offering workshops on housing issues,  healthy choices and history.
People's Theatre Project Workshops
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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A slumlord by any other name would still be infuriating.

No-heat apartments and landlord horror stories will be fodder for theater in upcoming workshops at Washington Heights' People's Theatre Project.

The venue is hosting the free course, called Uptown Action, to help residents turn their often-difficult experience with housing into bilingual theatrical works.

Theater Co-Executive and Program Director Mino Lora said the group decided to offer the class after audiences responded well to a play last year that featured a landlord who refused to give his tenants heat.

"When we presented [the play] to 500 people, that was the one that really resonated with the community," Lora said. "It got people jumping on stage. People were saying 'mm-hmm' in the audience."

The class will be open to 20 adult participants, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis on the theater's website. Registration for the October class begins on Sunday and runs through Sept. 26.

The People's Theatre Project also offers similar theatrical workshops for youth. A program for children ages 5 to 11, called Live Your Life, focuses on healthy choices. A separate Voices program will lead teenagers through the process of creating plays about social justice and is being run in partnership with Word Up Community Bookshop.

All three programs will rehearse this fall and wrap up with performances at the United Palace Cultural Arts Feb. 21 through Feb. 23.

Uptown Action will also tour in Harlem, The Bronx and Queens.

All of the groups will take on stage at the United Palace Cultural Arts again in June for a larger performance, which the Theatre Project has dubbed "The People Storm the Palace."