Storytelling Festival

JULY 21 - 25

It is defined as “an account of imaginary or real people and events," but really, a story is so much more than that. It is a living, breathing act of imagination that invites us to worlds we’ve never seen and introduces us to characters we’ve never met and will never forget.

This July, stories take over Little Island when the Storytelling Festival is in residence for one week only. Come enjoy the spoken word—not to mention the sung word, the recited word, and the animated word—when a New York based collection of songwriters, musicians, poets, and performers show us how stories can be told in a variety of art forms. Curated by Little Island Artist-in-Residence PigPen Theatre Co.—a “delightful” (New York Times) company of theatrical “geniuses” (The New Yorker)—this multidisciplinary festival draws upon the troupe’s style to animate and activate Little Island’s spaces with stories and wonder.


About the Curator: PigPen Theatre Co.

PigPen Theatre Co. began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007. They have since performed, produced, and licensed their original plays in New York City and all over the world – earning them critic’s picks from The New York Times, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Globe, and many more, ranking them in the top ten theatrical events of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016.

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A woman standing in a plaza
Enjoy Poet Mahogany L. Browne perform on July 21 + 22 at 8 PM in The Amph — Photo by Jenne Bergqvist
A woman dressed in an olive green button down shirt looking down
Catch Poet Sarah Kay perform on July 21 + 22 at 8 PM in The Amph — Photo by Lunar Photography
A man standing and talking into a microphone
Poet Jon Sands performs on July 21 + 22 at 8 PM in The Amph
A woman in red sitting on the floor looking up
See Shaina Taub in a reunion concert on July 23 + 24 at 8 PM in The Amph — Photo by Shervin Lainez
A man leaning against a stairway railing
Enjoy an evening with Phil Kaye on July 25 at 8 PM in The Amph — Photo by Taylor Lenci
Three people standing in a desert holding instruments. Two people in the background are holing a guitar and accordion, and one woman in the foreground is holding a cello.
Witness Bandits on the Run around Little Island on July 24 at 12 PM — Photo by Sophia Schrank

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Storytelling Festival Events:

Free events that take place after 12 pm still require a timed entry reservation for entrance into the parkreserve here.

If you are experiencing issues purchasing tickets please email ticketing@littleisland.org


INSTALLATIONS


Mikhail Fiksel: OVERHEAR

Hidden throughout the island are a handful of intimate sonic experiences accessible using your mobile device and (maybe) a pair of headphones. Listen in on a conversation between characters not visible to the naked eye, or catch echoes of the island's past (or future), or tune in to a transmission headed to the far reaches of outer space. Featuring the creative geniuses of Ike Holter, Max Posner, Sara Porkalob, Brian and Marvin Quijada, The Westerlies, Mikhail Fiksel, and voice talent from around the country...


Lydia Fine & Tony Blahd: Glimpses of Narcissus

A series of reflective Phenakistoscopes—19th-century animation devices—that retell the myth of narcissus. Featured alongside the original retelling are modern parallels to the mythic reflecting pool and the dangers of self-obsession.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2021

Stephanie Chou: LianXi- Connection: Stories from a Chinese-American Musician - FREE
6 pm in The Glade

Stephanie Chou's music combines classical and Chinese influences with Western jazz and pop to create an entirely original, unique musical world. She will present a bi-lingual (English and Mandarin) show exploring fresh takes on Chinese folk songs and tongue-twisters, excerpts from her recent evening-length jazz-opera "Comfort Girl", songs exploring her passion for math and literature, and several world premieres of music written during the pandemic.  Stephanie's music is all about connecting with the audience, and tonight's theme is sharing her experience as a Chinese-American growing up in NY through her music.

Live Literature Concert: Sarah Kay, Mahogany L. Browne, and Jon Sands - ON SALE NOW
In Collaboration with Composer Rajna Swaminathan
8 pm in The Amph

A stunning combination of the spoken word and the boundless voice of music, this is a wholly unique concert event that comes to Little Island for two nights only. Performance artists Sarah Kay, Mahogany L. Browne and Jon Sands — in collaboration with composer Rajna Swaminathan and a group of stellar improvisers such as Savannah Harris (drums), Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), and Rafiq Bhatia (guitar) — will present a dynamic, urgent, and imaginative evening of song and poetry that is truly a can’t miss event.

Michael Thurber Presents: A Giant Explosion of Love & Joy - FREE
Featuring: Daniel J. Watts, Amber Iman, Tessa Lark, Mark Dover and Jon Lampley
10 pm in The Play Ground and The Amph

Join Michael for a joyful night of incredible music that spans a plethora of musical styles including R&B, Funk, Folk, Bluegrass, and Jazz. You'll hear many of Michael's new songs performed with an incredible line-up of special guests, both vocalist and virtuoso instrumentalists! You'll smile, you'll laugh, you'll dance, you'll cry, and most importantly you'll feel amazing the whole time.


THURSDAY, JULY 22, 2021

Griots in Concert Featuring Dr. Linda H Humes, Master drummer "Liberty" - "98 Degrees in the Sun" - FREE
12 pm in The Amph

Stories, music, and song from Africa and Latin America. Be prepared to dance and sing along!


Tales From Little Island - FREE

with Ed Rosini
4 pm in The Play Ground

Imagine, if you will, that like so many parts of New York City, Little Island itself had a glimmer of magic about it. Friends and strangers will jump in together on a collaborative story that will be written while it plays out, as the tail of your journey comes to life. Come join in on an interactive adventure with Game Master Ed as you set out on your quest, uncover Little Island's secrets, and attempt to unite the 5 chapters of the island together once again!


Westbeth: You're Never Too Old To Play - FREE
6 pm in The Glade

A sound and movement storytelling workshop for seniors about their experience with the Covid Pandemic and the memories it inspired.


Live Literature Concert: Sarah Kay, Mahogany L. Browne, and Jon Sands - ON SALE NOW

In Collaboration with Composer Rajna Swaminathan
8 pm in The Amph

A stunning combination of the spoken word and the boundless voice of music, this is a wholly unique concert event that comes to Little Island for two nights only. Performance artists Sarah Kay, Mahogany L. Browne and Jon Sands — in collaboration with composer Rajna Swaminathan and a group of stellar improvisers such as Savannah Harris (drums), Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), and Rafiq Bhatia (guitar) — will present a dynamic, urgent, and imaginative evening of song and poetry that is truly a can’t miss event. ASL accessible performance.


Le'Asha: UNITY - FREE
10 pm in The Glade

With hope to inspire UNITY for all humans across the globe, Le’Asha brings a selection of music that will bring joy to all people of all backgrounds. Her passion for harmony on Earth will take the audience on a wild ride of enthusiasm and will motivate peace and love for all!!


FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2021

Tales From Little Island - FREE
with Ed Rosini
4 pm in The Play Ground

Imagine, if you will, that like so many parts of New York City, Little Island itself had a glimmer of magic about it. Friends and strangers will jump in together on a collaborative story that will be written while it plays out, as the tail of your journey comes to life. Come join in on an interactive adventure with Game Master Ed as you set out on your quest, uncover Little Island's secrets, and attempt to unite the 5 chapters of the island together once again!


Lenape Journeys - FREE
with Rebecca Haff Lowry & David L. Haff
6 pm in The Glade

Rebecca Haff Lowry will share poetry and stories based on Lenape history, folklore, and contemporary culture. A digital exhibition of abstract art, by David L. Haff, illustrates the stories. A conversation with audience members on poetry and art follows the performance.


Sing Again: A Reunion Concert with Shaina Taub & Community - ON SALE NOW
featuring Kim Blanck, Ato Blankson-Wood, Mike Brun, Darius de Haas, Cherrye J. Davis, Kate Ferber, Jo Lampert, Jose Llana, Hiroyuki Matsuura, David Farrell Melton, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Liana Stampur, and Kuhoo Verma
8 pm in The Amph

The New York Times calls her “a gravitational force whose career is taking off.” She’s writing a musical with Elton John and is being mentored by the producer of HAMILTON. And her first live concert in two years in happening at Little Island! Brilliant singer-songwriter Shaina Taub reunites with her longtime bandmates as well as welcomes a bevy of remarkable artists from New York's creative community to the stage, in a show that will debut new material from her upcoming album and visit old favorites from her songbook. Come enjoy an evening of healing and possibility, as we finally all come together to sing again. ASL accessible performance.


SATURDAY, JULY 24, 2021

Bandits on the Run on Little Island - CANCELLED
12 pm in Various Locations in the Park

Bandits on the Run have arrived back to New York City after a tumultuous year, and have launched an old timey private eye campaign to determine the whereabouts of the spirit of New York. In a series of songs, shenanigans, and traveling bits, the Bandits take the audience on a romp around Little Island to try and find the new New York together.


PigPen Theater Co. in Concert - FREE
1 pm in The Amph

We have stories to tell and songs to sing. It’s been far too long, friends. Let’s hang out for a bit.


Lenape Journeys
 - FREE
with Rebecca Haff Lowry & David L. Haff
6 pm in The Glade

Rebecca Haff Lowry will share poetry and stories based on Lenape history, folklore, and contemporary culture. A digital exhibition of abstract art, by David L. Haff, illustrates the stories. A conversation with audience members on poetry and art follows the performance.


Ishita Jain - FREE
8 pm in The Playground

Ishita is an illustrator based in NY, though she is originally from Delhi, India. Ishita loves to draw on location and enjoys documenting the people, places, and stories that surround her. Drawing is a great way to slow down, observe, and really look at what is happening in the world around you. This summer, Ishita will be drawing live at Little Island and documenting the return of art, culture, and life in this newly opened public space. Drop by, have a look, and who knows you might feature in some drawings as well!


Sing Again: A Reunion Concert with Shaina Taub & Community
 - ON SALE NOW
featuring Kim Blanck, Ato Blankson-Wood, Mike Brun, Darius de Haas, Cherrye J. Davis, Kate Ferber, Jo Lampert, Jose Llana, Hiroyuki Matsuura, David Farrell Melton, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Liana Stampur, and Kuhoo Verma
8 pm in The Amph

The New York Times calls her “a gravitational force whose career is taking off.” She’s writing a musical with Elton John and is being mentored by the producer of HAMILTON. And her first live concert in two years in happening at Little Island! Brilliant singer-songwriter Shaina Taub reunites with her longtime bandmates as well as welcomes a bevy of remarkable artists from New York's creative community to the stage, in a show that will debut new material from her upcoming album and visit old favorites from her songbook. Come enjoy an evening of healing and possibility, as we finally all come together to sing again. ASL accessible performance.


SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2021

Outside Voices: The Best of BKBX - FREE
with Broken Box Mime Theater
3 pm in The Glade

BKBX (Broken Box Mime Theater) reimagines French pantomime for contemporary audiences through the lens of US-American theater. Without a single word and set to a heart-thumping soundtrack, Outside Voices will feature a "best-of" playlist of favorites from BKBX's 10-year repertoire. The narratives will range from realistic to metaphorical, heart-wrenching to hilarious, and cinematic to intimate, held together by a dedication to the empowered imagination and the collective artistic voice of BKBX's resident company of artists.


Stories For A New Island - FREE

with Daniel Nayeri and PigPen Theatre Co.
6 pm in The Glade

Join Daniel Nayeri and PigPen Theatre Co. for an interactive story-making event to improvise folktales and ghost stories with audience participation and musical accompaniment.


Welcome Home: An Evening with Phil Kaye & The Westerlies - ON SALE NOW
8 pm in The Amph

One of New York’s most iconic and original voices, the “dynamic” (The New Yorker) Phil Kaye, award-winning poet and performer, has built a large following and an acclaimed career exploring the multidimensional layers of home: the sound of his grandmother’s voice, the laughs outside his apartment window, an imagined scene if his parents had stayed in Tokyo. In a special collaboration between Kaye and acclaimed brass quartet The Westerlies, the artists come together for a night of imagery and live music that both reflects the turbulent times we live in, and celebrates the human condition as we navigate those times with determination, courage, and hope.


Ishita Jain - FREE
8 pm in The Play Ground

Ishita is an illustrator based in NY, though she is originally from Delhi, India. Ishita loves to draw on location and enjoys documenting the people, places, and stories that surround her. Drawing is a great way to slow down, observe, and really look at what is happening in the world around you. This summer, Ishita will be drawing live at Little Island and documenting the return of art, culture, and life in this newly opened public space. Drop by, have a look, and who knows you might feature in some drawings as well!


Michael Thurber Presents: A Giant Explosion of Love & Joy - FREE
Featuring: Daniel J. Watts, Amber Iman, Tessa Lark, Mark Dover and Jon Lampley
10 pm in The Play Ground and The Amph

Join Michael for a joyful night of incredible music that spans a plethora of musical styles including R&B, Funk, Folk, Bluegrass, and Jazz. You'll hear many of Michael's new songs performed with an incredible line-up of special guests, both vocalist and virtuoso instrumentalists! You'll smile, you'll laugh, you'll dance, you'll cry, and most importantly you'll feel amazing the whole time.