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Justin Ahdoot and Brittany Anikka Liu in Preexisting Conditions (photo by Michelle Tsai, courtesy Corkscrew Theatre Festival)

Now in its third year, the Corkscrew Theater Festival is a welcome breath of fresh air in a New York summer plagued by heatwaves and exploding manholes. Corkscrew offers up a yearly lineup of plays and other theater productions at the East Village’s Paradise Factory, and according to its mission statement, it champions “underrepresented artists and viewpoints … offering audiences a unique mix of work at various stages of development, promoting interaction and dialogue among artists, and building a community around a season of theater.” Last year’s festival had a “near-complete roster” of women and trans creatives behind its shows, and this year’s lineup continues its legacy of featuring diverse, creative voices. Because the festival has no fee to apply, it’s friendly to young and emerging playwrights, directors, and actors in the theatre community.

There’s still time left to check out this year’s lineup, which includes world premieres, workshop productions, and readings performed through August 3, for a total of 80 performances. This season’s productions tackle topics like health insurance (Preexisting Conditions, written by Elyse Pitock and directed by Alexis Wilcox), labor and collective action (Collective Noun, written by Haleh Roshan and directed by Lauren Zeftel), queer childhood (Six Years Old, written by Sam Silbiger and directed by Helen Handelman), a man struggling with his title as “the Venus Williams of solitaire” (Patience, written by Johnny G. Lloyd and directed by Velani Dibba), and more. One play, Stone, written by the playwright Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood and inspired by Leslie Feinberg’s novel Stone Butch Blues, pays homage to the legacy of butch community solidarity and queer organizing in the 1960s.

It’s inspiring to see any festival craft such essential work with this emphasis on community engagement. Tickets for the remaining shows start at $20 (with $10 student rush and pay-what-you-can options) and are available through Corkscrew’s website.

When: Now–August 3
Where: Paradise Factory (64 East 4th Street, East Village, Manhattan)

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Eric Vilas-Boas

Eric Vilas-Boas is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic. He has previously worked at Thrillist, Esquire, SPIN,, and his writing has appeared at Vulture, Slashfilm, Lit Hub, Paste,...