UNDER THE RADAR’S HIATUS - A NOTE FROM OSKAR EUSTIS
Under the Radar’s Hiatus.
A Note from Oskar Eustis
Last week, difficult news was shared that the UNDER THE RADAR festival would not return for The Public’s 23-24 season. We made the painful decision to place the festival on hiatus. I understand and share the hurt that those who participated in and loved the festival have expressed over the past few days.
The Public Theater has been the proud home of UNDER THE RADAR for 18 years. Under the brilliant leadership of Mark Russell, UTR became a beloved annual part of our city’s calendar, a time when we celebrated the cutting-edge performance art of the moment. It was also a vital gathering point for adventurous artists and audiences and the only place in our season where American and international artists work side-by-side in multiple venues. My first artistic act when I became Artistic Director was to invite UTR to make The Public its home.
Unfortunately, these are exceptionally challenging times in our field. The Public, like almost every other non-profit theater in the country, is facing serious financial pressure. We have not returned to pre-pandemic economics, neither in our expenses nor our revenue. Many of our programs are free or priced for accessibility, which make them particularly economically vulnerable. Because of these factors, we are assessing and implementing other cost reductions at the theater in addition to UTR. We must act now to avoid the kind of existential pressure currently battering some of our sister theaters.
The Public retains its strong commitment to experimental, devised, and downtown work outside of a festival context, including the Devised Theater Working Group, our incubator for experimental artists. Further, Joe’s Pub continues to be a platform for many multidisciplinary artists; and we will continue our long-standing relationships with experimental ensembles. We will be aggressively searching for ways to support the artists who thought of UTR as home.
In the certainty that better times will come, we continue to work to preserve the health and mission of The Public. We look forward to a time when we can fully expand back into the robust and expansive theater we need to be.