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January 21, 2015

Lincoln Center Education Announces "Next Stage" Event Focused on Theater and Autism

Lincoln Center News

January 21, 2015

Contact: Eric M. Gewirtz


[email protected]


Lincoln Center Education Announces First Next Stage Event of 2015,

Focused on Autism and Exploring Works for Students on the Autism Spectrum


February 19 Panelists Include Leaders in the Field: Tim Webb of Oily Cart,

Jonathan Shmidt of Trusty Sidekick, and

Benjamin Endsley Klein of Broadway’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,

with Moderator Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education


Lincoln Center Education, the education cornerstone of Lincoln Center and a global leader in arts education and advocacy, announces the first event of the 2015 Next Stage series, a discussion series launched last year with high-profile artists exploring the role of arts education in their creative and commercial work. The first event, taking place February 19 at Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater, will focus on artists involved in the creation of works for the specific audience of people on the autism spectrum. The panel of directors will discuss the pathways and opportunities to creating performances for this audience, whether it be in the form of an adapted or modified work, or a wholly original work.


The three panelists are leaders in the small but rapidly developing area of art access for this audience: Tim Webb, Artistic Director of UK-based Oily Cart; Jonathan Shmidt, Artistic Director of New York’s Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, which is creating a new work commissioned by Lincoln Center Education for this audience; and Benjamin Endsley Klein, U.S. Associate Director of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time on Broadway; they are joined by moderator Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education. This event is a prelude to the previews and premiere later this year of Up and Away by Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, a new, original commission by Lincoln Center Education specifically designed for students on the autism spectrum.


Said Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education: “The work we do at Lincoln Center is designed for anyone, anytime, anywhere. Creating works for audiences on the autism spectrum is at the forefront of our purpose. We’re pleased that these significant leaders in this emerging area of focus are coming together to discuss concepts and opportunities for this important audience.”


All events in the series will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the Clark Studio Theater, located on the 7th floor of the Samuel B. and David Rose Building at Lincoln Center, 65th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.


Tickets for Lincoln Center Education’s Next Stage series are $10 and available for purchase at, 212-721-6500, and at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office, Broadway and 65th Street. Free tickets are available for students of The Juilliard School, subject to availability.


Tim Webb, MBE, is one of the founders and the artistic director of Oily Cart which creates theatre for two main types of audience: very young children, under five and sometimes under two years of age, and, in addition, for young people defined as having Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities or as being on the autism spectrum. Oily Cart was founded in 1981 and creates between two and three new productions each year. Oily Cart’s theater, especially for young people with complex disabilities is multi-sensory, particularly for the exploration of smell, taste, touch, sight and hearing, as many in the audience may have impaired vision or hearing. It is highly interactive so that the members of the Oily Cart company can adapt to the requirement of each individual in the audience. Substantial parts of the performance are focused on one-to-one interaction. To engage kinaesthetic senses, devices such as trampolines, hydrotherapy pools and flying rigs with aerialists are used. The company tours through the UK and, from time to time, in Europe and North America.


Jonathan Shmidt Chapman is the Founding Artistic Director of Trusty Sidekick Theater Company in New York City, dedicated to creating bold and original theater for kids and families. In this role, he and the company have served as artists ­in residence at Park Avenue Armory, Cleveland PlayhouseSquare and The New Victory Theater. As a director, he has developed new work for young people at The John F. Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts (New Visions New Voices 2012), La Jolla Playhouse (DNA Festival 2013) and Abrons Arts Center. In May, Jonathan will direct the world premiere of Up and Away, a commission for Lincoln Center Education for young audiences on the autism spectrum. Recent credits include two immersive productions presented by Park Avenue Armory (The 7 and 1/2 Mysteries of Toulouse McLane and The Haunting of Ichabod Crane) and the world premiere of The Boy at the Edge of Everything by Finegan Kruckemeyer in co-production at Seattle Children's Theatre. In addition to his work with Trusty Sidekick, Jonathan is the Associate Director of Artistic Programming at The New Victory Theater. He also currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at New York University's Steinhardt Program in Educational Theatre, where he teaches coursework on Theater for Young Audiences.


Benjamin Endsley Klein was the Director of Ann starring Tony Nominated actress Holland Taylor as Governor Ann Richards. Before playing Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center, the production played Chicago and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Selected credits as Director include Bend in the Road at New York Musical Theatre Festival (included in Huffington Post’s “The Best Shows of 2013”), the world premiere musical Hello Out There at The Adirondack Theatre Festival, the East Coast Premiere of Sick by Zayd Dohrn at New Jersey Repertory, Hairspray at Charlottetown Festival (Prince Edward Island, Canada), Notes to MariAnne at the Eugene O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference, and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe in San Diego, California. As Resident, Associate, or Assistant Director, credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, War Horse at Lincoln Center Theatre (Tony Award, Best Play 2011), Love Never Dies in the West End, Hairspray in the West End (Olivier Award, Best Musical 2008), the UK tour of Hairspray, Lincoln Center Theater’s The Coast of Utopia (Tony Award, Best Play 2007), and Broadway, 1st National US Tour, and Regional productions of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Awards include the Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, the Mike Ockrent Fellowship by the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and the Paul Green Foundation Award by the National Theatre Conference.


Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education (LCE), is internationally known for his work in arts education. Mr. Granet joined Lincoln Center after running his own international consulting practice, Arts Education Resource (AER).  Prior to founding AER, Mr. Granet held the following leadership positions as Director of Professional Development at The Center for Arts Education—The NYC Annenberg Challenge; Director of Education at The American Place Theatre; and senior teaching artist at the Creative Arts Team. Since 1995 he has been on the faculty at New York University, where he developed and teaches the course Drama with Special Populations.  Since his appointment in September 2012, he has spearheaded LCE’s highly successful fundraising efforts, its renovation, and the rebranding initiative that simultaneously confirms Lincoln Center’s educational mission and its message of dedication to bringing the arts to all schoolchildren.


Lincoln Center Education (LCE) is a global leader in arts education and advocacy and the education cornerstone of Lincoln Center, the world’s largest performing arts complex. LCE is committed to enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners by providing opportunities for engagement with the highest-quality arts on the stage, in the classroom, via digital platforms, and within the community. Founded in 1975 as the Lincoln Center Institute, LCE has nearly four decades of unparalleled school and community partnerships, professional development workshops, consulting services, and its very own repertory. LCE has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, school administrators, parents, community members, teaching artists, pre-service teachers, university professors, and artists in New York City, across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit


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