…a place of bliss
In the Purlieues of Heav'n, and therein placed
A race of Upstart Creatures
Paradise Lost, Book 2, Lines 832-4
On May 4, 2013, a group of twenty theatre artists presented an original 13-hour, 2-meal adaptation of Paradise Lost, and the Upstart Creatures were born.
The Upstarts didn’t mean to start a theatre company. But after rehearsing Paradise Lostfor six months, collaborating on the epic task of adapting Milton's canonical work and planning the menu for the multi-course, mouth-watering meals that were incorporated into the day-long event, we realized we missed each other. And that we had something special going.
So we started making more events, in the spirit (if not length) of that first one: The company remains committed to staging readings of new and/or rarely produced works, and is composed of a diverse group of emerging and established artists--many of whom have appeared in film, television and numerous theatrical productions regionally, internationally, and on and off-Broadway. We toil in the kitchen, break bread with our audiences, and produce the events. All for free.
Additionally, the Upstart Creatures welcomes guest artists who have made invaluable contributions throughout our production history. Our extraordinary group of volunteers, who work in the kitchen, assist at the door, and promote our work, and our passionate Board Members, who govern and fundraise for the company, are equally vital parts of our inclusive company.
The Upstarts joined the Sanctuary Arts program at the Metro-Baptist Church at 410 West 40th St in April 2015, where we are still happily in residence.
We were founded by Michael Barakiva. Suzanne Agins joined Michael as Artistic Director in 2017. Shortly thereafter, Adam Grosswirth was appointed Managing Director.