Project Number One was initially launched in 2020 as a job creation program through which we employed eight artists as staff members. The mission of Soho Rep is to provide meaningful opportunities to theatermakers at critical junctures in their practice, and we started Project Number One at a time when we felt urgently called to increase our direct support of artists. We wanted to recognize the enormous benefit that artists offer to society and respond to the initial lack of government support for arts workers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and to the record and near universal unemployment in our field. Project Number One was also an experiment in prioritizing living wages for artists above other institutional needs — even when facing unprecedented challenges.
As theaters across the City reopen, we are excited to share that Project Number One will evolve from a relief effort, in which we paid artists a living wage when nationwide COVID-19 related closers prevented them from working, into an equally radical recovery effort through which we pay artists a living wage when they are working.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that director Abigail Jean-Baptiste and scenic designer Kimie Nishikawa will join our staff for the 2021/22 season. Project Number One Artists on staff receive a salary equivalent to the average staff salary at Soho Rep: $1,250 per week plus health insurance. In just a few weeks, we will also share new ways in which Project Number One will impact production fees and salaries for all artists working on a show at Soho Rep.
Abigail Jean-Baptiste (she/her/any) is a theater maker, director, and writer who grew up in New York and London with roots in the American South and Haiti. Her work intersects with critical race theory, disrupts conditioned rules of behavior, and reimagines understandings of the past. She’s particularly interested in activating the ways live performance and theater are as essential to our humanity as eating food. In 2020, she was named one of the “Powerhouse Women Directors Theatre Fans and Industry Pros Alike Need to Know” by Playbill. Most recently, she directed The Story of a Circle by David Ryan Smith for Soho Rep’s inaugural Project Number One. Currently developing projects that sift through history to unearth stories and humans who remain obscured. She is a part of the Roundabout Director’s Group, Bushwick Starr Reading Series, Classic Stage Company Associate Board and The New Georges Jam. A Proud Lilly Award Winner and New Georges Affiliated Artist. B.A. Princeton University. abigailjeanbaptiste.org
Kimie Nishikawa is a Japanese scenic designer based in NYC. Notable credits : Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Theater), The Headlands (LCT3), Gnit (TFANA), Dr Ride’s American Beach House (Ars Nova), The Light (MCC). NYC upcoming; Morning Sun (Manhattan Theater Club), While You Were Partying (Soho Rep), Tambo and Bones (Playwrights Horizons). Along with Cha See and Rodrigo Muñoz, Kimie is one of the co-founders of See Lighting Foundation, a grassroots fundraiser committed to supporting immigrant theater artists during the global pandemic. Since October of 2020, Kimie now works as a design collective called dots with Andrew Moerdyk and Santiago Orjuela-Laverde. They approach every project with diversity of thought and burning curiosity and, above all, they believe in the value of the whole being greater than the sum of its individual parts. designbydots.com
Leadership support for Project Number One is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional funding for Project Number One is provided in part, by American Express, Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.