Our Mission and Vision
Radical Evolution is a multiethnic producing collective committed to creating artistic events that seek to understand the complexities of the mixed-identity existence in the 21st Century.
We believe that our ensemble-based approach to creating aesthetically and formally rigorous events, with people from a variety of backgrounds, works to break down barriers between both cultures and specializations. We incorporate people from a variety of backgrounds into our creative process, with a focus on people of color, to seed the field of experimental and collaboratively created theatre with practitioners that celebrate the intersectionality of perspectives and aesthetics of the city around us. Through this approach, we work to assert a vision for cultural and social equity in our field, city, and nation.
With each collaborative project, we aim to ask the question: What if we built something beautiful together that was more ongoing and ever-evolving than a few days or weeks of performances? We aim to struggle together to build a piece of performance and use that as a way to authentically relate to each other. We push against perceived truths, popular assumptions and structures of oppression by celebrating affinity between artists of different cultural backgrounds (and often different artistic specializations).
With each new work, we are inspired to re-focus Radical Evolution’s process around these more long-term ideas and strategies, in an effort to create relationships that resonate during the artistic process, but also radiate out into the world beyond.
As our works begin to take shape, we regularly gather with audiences to share in our process. The folks we are making this work for - people of color whose histories and life experiences are rarely authentically reflected onstage - are an important part of our process, and we work to stay in regular communication with our community. We’re accountable to and in relationship with our audiences, many of whom are makers of art and social movements, and we relish the opportunity to put our artistic practice in front of these glorious humans.
We hope the impact of our work will raise the visibility of multiethnic stories in the field of live performance in New York City and beyond, and we strive to model a more just and equitable society through our ongoing artistic practice.
Radical Evolution was founded in 2011 by Beto O’Byrne and Meropi Peponides, theatre makers who create cross-disciplinary performance works. We contribute to the conversation in NYC and beyond with works that seek to understand the complexities of modern, multiethnic, mixed-identity existence.
Radical Evolution is an instigator of original performance works from inception to completion, and a large portion of our time is spent on developing new works in a long-term, intentional and iterative process. To date, we have developed and/or produced four original works: The Golden Drum Year: a story in poetry and prose, Loving and Loving, The Corrido of the San Patricios, and Songs About Trains.
We have collaborated with numerous organizations on the production and development of our work, and are proud that our collaborators have included: El Teatro Campesino, Stages Rep, Pregones PRTT, The Movement Theatre Company, Rough Draft Festival @ LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, The New Ohio Theatre, IRT Theatre, The Harold Clurman Lab Theatre, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and The Performance Project @University Settlement, among others.
Major funders of our work include The MAP Fund, Network of Ensemble Theatres, The Puffin Foundation, and numerous generous individual supporters.
Beto O’Byrne (co-founder) hails from East Texas and is the co-founder of Radical Evolution. As a theatre artist, his plays have been produced and supported throughout the U.S. He is the former Artistic Director of the Austin Latino Theater Alliance and is an alumnus of INTAR’s Maria Irene Fornes HPRL, the Texas Black and Latino Playwriting Festival, Lincoln Center Theater’s Director’s Lab, and was twice the recipient of residences at the Tofte Lake Arts Center in Ely, MN. www.betoobyrne.org
Meropi Peponides (co-founder) is an Artistic Producer, dramaturg, writer and co-founder of Radical Evolution. She has been collaboratively creating and producing theatre for the past 9 years with a focus on devised ensemble work, new plays, site-specific work and community-based performance. She is also the Producer at Soho Rep. in New York, where she produces the mainstage season. She serves on the Advisory Committee for The Performance Project @ University Settlement. She has been awarded a Time Warner Fellowship with the Women’s Project Lab, and a Creative Producing Fellowship with The Foundry Theatre. Other organizations with which she has collaborated include The Movement Theatre Company, The Public Theater, 24th Street Theatre and Watts Village Theatre Company. BA, UCLA. MFA, Columbia University (Dean's fellow).
Andrew Belcher (board chair) is an educator, social worker, and theater maker. He works in school-based mental health and is the Director of The 100 Schools Project and College Connects at The Jewish Board. He is also the founder of MassBliss, a company that promotes social justice in schools through self-care and social emotional learning. As a performer, writer, and producer Andrew has been creating collaborative ensemble work in NYC for more than 10 years. Andrew is proud to be the founding board chair of Radical Evolution and is dedicated to building a sustainable, thriving company.
Caitlin Cisco (communications strategist) is a New York City-based performer committed to being a part of diversity in storytelling. Originally from Southern California and Singapore, Caitlin’s favorite credits include Loving and Loving at Adler Studio Theatre, The White Snake at Baltimore Center Stage, and Nell Gwynn at the Folger Theatre. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance at the University of Michigan. www.caitlincisco.com