A New Home (TBA) to Set the Stage for Popular Arts Center
By Sally Deering
Stepping inside Art House Productionsâ€™ performance space behind One PATH Plaza in Jersey City, Meredith Burns tiptoes through rows of stage lights, piles of discarded scenery and the ghosts of plays, musicals, art exhibits and dress-up fundraisers that took place within its walls all these years. But the past is the past and Art House Productions is about to take up residence in a new space with Burns as its new executive director. Thereâ€™s still lots to be done and some big shoes to fill.
Those shoes belong to Christine Goodman, who served as Executive Director of Art House since the non-profit first opened its doors 15 years ago on McWilliams place near Hamilton Park, then moved to bigger digs on Magnolia Street near Journal Square. As Art Houseâ€™s executive director, Goodman â€“ who is leaving to spend more time with family â€“ directed most of Art Houseâ€™s plays, oversaw the INKubator writersâ€™ workshop and STAGES! program for kids â€˜bitten by the acting bug.â€™
Changing of the guard:
Christine Goodman, Meredith Burns,
and a young fan.
â€œMeredith is exactly the kind of visionary we need to bring us into this next phase of growth,â€ Goodman says. â€œOur Board of Trustees did a thoughtful, in-depth search to find the best fit for our organization, and I believe they found the right person. I have always believed in succession planning as a hallmark of an organization’s long-term success. It is truly an exciting new day at Art House.â€
Succeeding Founder and Long-Term Leader Christine Goodman
JERSEY CITY, NJ, January 27, 2017 â€“ Meredith Burns has been named Executive Director of Art House Productions effective February 13. A Jersey City resident and volunteer for Art House INKubator, Burns joins the organization from Brooklynâ€™s New Voices Middle School, where she has led an arts-based, after-school program for 200+ children since 2013. She succeeds Christine Goodman, who is stepping down 15 years after founding the highly regarded nonprofit arts organization to spend more time with her family. Continue reading Art House Productions Names Meredith Burns Executive Director→
â€œA cursed bloodline. A family on the edge.Â If this house could speak, what stories it would tell.â€
Â Thatâ€™s the tagline for the new play THE HOUSE OF ATREUS which premieres Thursday, June 4, at Art House Productions in Jersey City. Itâ€™s a collaborative work between Christine Goodman (Executive Director of Art House Productions) who wrote the piece, Mason Beggs, who directed, and choreographer Meagan Woods.
THE HOUSE OF ATREUS is an immersive and unconventional theater piece. Instead of putting the actors on stage and the audience in rows of seats to observe, the set takes up the entire theater with a chair and TV in one area, a broken down porch in another, and a dining room table at center. The audience enters through a haze of smoky fog and is encouraged to find a spot of their choosing to watch the play as it unfolds around them. This immerses the audience into the playâ€™s action, which becomes part of the overall theater experience.
â€œThe audience will be active observers,â€ Goodman says, sitting on set with Beggs and Woods during a break in tech rehearsal. â€œWeâ€™re changing the audienceâ€™s perspective.â€
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Art House Productions grew from a post-9/11 open mic night on the top floor of a church, to a respected company of artists performing, exhibiting, teaching and building a creative presence in Jersey City. As Founder and Executive Director of Art House Productions, Christine Goodman oversees INKubator, a play-development program; STAGES, a youth theater program; .JC FRIDAYS, a quarterly arts event held in 50 venues throughout Jersey City; Snow Ball, the non-profitâ€™s annual fundraiser and â€œTHE ART HOUSE TV SHOWâ€ featuring performances by poets, musicians, comedians and performance artists that airs weekly on Jersey City Comcast Channel 51. Goodmanâ€™s efforts have been so successful the City of Jersey City gave her the Key to the City in 2007.
Art House Productions began its 13th season this past September and its fall JC Fridays event was just held the first week of December. These days, Goodman is busy getting LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, put on by Art House Productionsâ€™ youth company ready for opening night while she plans the upcoming fundraiser Snow Ball to be held January 25th.Â She recently took time out of her busy schedule to talk with Riverview Observer about her role as Executive Director of Art House Productions and the many projects she and her staff oversees.
RVO:Can you tell our readershow Art House Productions came about?
CG: I founded it 2001in response to â€˜9/11â€™. Â I wanted to have an event that brought people in Jersey City together that were artistic, I had no idea where to find them, so I held an â€˜open micâ€™ in late September 2001 and that was the first event. In January 2002, we launched our monthly open mic series at Victory Hall, connecting with writers and poets like Reg E. Gaines. (Reg E. Gaines, a Jersey City resident, wrote the libretto and lyrics for the Broadway musical BRING IN DA NOISE; BRING IN DA FUNK.)Â And in 2007 we moved into our space on Hamilton Park.Â It started with an open mic and a handful of people; now we have things happening year round and we serve over 16,000 people a year through our programs. Continue reading Behind the Scenes at Art House Productions Executive Director Christine Goodman gives Artists a Place to Shine→
Â Ideas sometimes come to us in dreams and that’s exactly how Bill Sorvino conceived the Golden Door International Film Festival to be held in Jersey City in October. What started as images flickering in his sleeping mind will now be images flickering on the silver screen.
Â “I had a dream last year about having a film festival in Jersey City,” Sorvino says,” and it was like lightning in a bottle. Jersey City is close to my heart. I grew up here and my family has a 100-year history here. I want Jersey City to have something in its own right.”
Dreaming of a film festival is not much of a stretch for Sorvino. He’s a screenwriter and actor who studied at the William Esper Studios in New York City and has appeared in several indie films. He also hails from a theatrical family – his uncle is celebrated actor Paul Sorvino and he’s cousin to Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino – and throughout the years Bill Sorvino shared conversations with his Uncle Paul and cousin Mira about film, theater and acting held during family gatherings at the dinner table.Â Â Continue reading Golden Door International Film Festival Director Invites Filmmakers to Screen Their Dreams in Jersey City→
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