With over eight million people and as many as 800 languages spoken in New York City, it’s up to the people to keep their culture shining bright. This April, People’s Theatre Project will present the world premiere of an original play – developed by immigrant artists and starring a majority-immigrant cast.
On Saturday, April 12th, during New York City’s celebration of Immigrant Heritage Week 2023, People’s Theatre Project will welcome audiences to the world premiere of The Diamond at Pregones Theater in the Bronx.
The Diamond is an original play that follows a group of detained immigrants who conspire against a dystopian government. They lead a revolution, but realize they will only be free when they remember who they are.
Created by immigrants, The Diamond is written by Christin Eve Cato (Sancocho) and directed by Chuk Obasi (The Weaver (part II): Paradigm), and is brought to life by a ten-member, majority-immigrant cast: Ampeire Bireije (Uganda), Josephine Cho (Korea), Yadira De La Riva (Mexico/US), Yekta Khaghani (Iran), Gerdania Mendoza (Dom. Rep/US), Journey Peters (US), Elizabeth Salazar (Guatemala), Paola Alexandra Soto (Dom. Rep), Vida Tayebati (Iran) and Osei White (US).
“This world premiere production of The Diamond represents the culmination of four years of research, story-sharing, devising, workshopping and production,” said Mino Lora, Executive Artistic Director of People’s Theatre Project (PTP). “It is incredibly rewarding to finally share this play with the world. It takes very personal stories and weaves it into a fictional dystopian nation that illustrates the challenges that far too many immigrants in today’s world experience. We hope The Diamond will inspire audiences to recognize the immense power of our heritage and identities as well as the role that immigrants and people of color can play in this country.”
“A new work from People’s Theatre Project is always a revelation and always a celebration. The Diamond, written by Christin Eve Cato and performed by the PTP ensemble, is a high point in their company’s 14-year history lifting immigrant and women stories,” said Rosalba Rolón, Artistic Director, Pregones / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. “We are elated to host its World Premiere at Pregones Theater in the South Bronx. In the Big Apple’s ever-busy spring season, this show is a must-see for the entire family.”
Originally conceived by theatre artist Zafi Dimitropoulou Del Angel (PTP’s artistic director, 2018-2023) in response to the Trump administration’s violent policy of family separation at the border, PTP set out to develop a trilogy of devised theatre works investigating the immigrant experience.
The Diamond merges the themes, characters and narrative ideas featured in the trilogy, which included: Las Mariposas (2018), which focused on the journey of immigrant mothers and children; Somos Más (2019), which told the story of immigrants who spark a joyful revolution amidst a dystopia where assimilation is required; and, Doña Mañana (2021), which imagined a future where the immigrants from Somos Más have brought liberation to their home. These individual productions toured across New York City, and were presented at Riverside Church, Pregones/PRTT, the Whitney Museum, Queens Museum, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.
In 2022, critically acclaimed playwright Christin Eve Cato joined the creative team and merged the three pieces together to create The Diamond.
“Collaborating on The Diamond has been a meaningful experience because of the brilliance that exists in the room. Working with the director, Chuk, and the actors in the cast has been enlightening and eye-opening. As a playwright of color who has not undergone the journey of immigration in America, I have felt guided and supported throughout the storytelling process,” said Cato. “The Diamond is an urgent story to tell because it is current, topical, and relevant to the world at large. In this story, we explore the depths of immigration and focus on the personal journeys that people take in order to pursue peace, safety, liberty, education, and/or financial security. We also spend time exploring the dangers of a government that ignores the needs of the people – reminding us that the ideal society is one that keeps us all safe, healthy, and protected under the law.”
The Diamond’s diverse creative team include: Amanda Ekery (composer, US); Izmir Ickbal (scenic & projections designer, Singapore); Rodrigo Hernandez Martinez (costume designer, Mexico); Xiangfu Xiao (lighting designer, China); Majo Ferrucho (stage manager, Colombia); Jiawen Hu (producer, China); Angela Dixon (assistant director, US); Bob Braswell (managing director, US); and Mino Lora (executive artistic director, Dom. Rep).
The show will hold previews on April 12-14, and then the show will run from April 15-23, 2023 at Pregones Theater, at 575 Walton Avenue in the Bronx. Tickets are available HERE. General admission is $25, and student and senior admission is $10. The Diamond is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Rooted in Washington Heights and Inwood, People’s Theatre Project (PTP) makes theatre with and for immigrant communities to build a more just and equitable world. Now in its 14th anniversary season, PTP is Manhattan’s largest performing arts organization north of Harlem. Through ensemble-based, multilingual and multigenerational programming, PTP’s unique brand of theatre is a powerful artistic platform for immigrants and members of the Latine, Black, and Queer communities.
People’s Theatre Project’s core programming includes: the PTP Company, a professional ensemble of all immigrant artists of color; the PTP Academy, a theatre and social justice leadership program dedicated to the holistic development of immigrant youth; and the PTP Partnerships, an in-school theatre program that guides students through a journey of self-discovery and celebration of their cultures.
Fueled by an investment by the City of New York, PTP currently is developing New York City’s first-of-its-kind performing arts center. When it opens its doors in 2026, the center will amplify the voices of the city’s diverse immigrant communities and cultivate work by local artists and arts organizations, providing an accessible, vibrant, dedicated rehearsal and performance space for residents of Inwood and Washington Heights.
As an immigrant- and women-of-color-led cultural organization, PTP is an advocate for immigrant New Yorkers and the arts as a partner with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, an active member of the Latinx Arts Consortium of New York (LXNY) steering committee, The New York Immigration Coalition’s (NYIC) Immigrant Leadership Council and Culture@3’s Anti Racism Working Group.