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Shiva Theater

March 7 - March 10, 2019

Estimated Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission

Public Studio

Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Candis C. Jones

2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist and poet-playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza makes her Public Theater debut with a stunning new play about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

It’s been 936 days since Marion’s family has had clean water. When local activists file a class action lawsuit against the city, Marion—a third-generation employee at General Motors—must decide how best to support her two daughters, sister, and mother while lead seeps into the community, their home, and their bodies. As corrosive memories and secrets rise among them, the family wonders if they’ll ever be able to filter out the truth.

Directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. JonesCULLUD WATTAH asks if love, faith, and family can withstand America’s systemic injustices.

PUBLIC STUDIO is a performance series dedicated exclusively to developing the work of emerging writers. More than a workshop, but not a full production, this middle step provides the important opportunity for writers to work in a laboratory environment, rehearse with actors and a director, incorporate bare-bones design elements, and open the process to an audience over a series of performances. 

PUBLIC STUDIO was founded with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Time Warner Foundation. Continued support for Public Studio is provided by The Time Warner Foundation.

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Tickets are $15, plus fees
Member, Public Supporter & Partner tickets are $15

Featuring Deonna Bouye (Marion), Alana Raquel Bowers (Reesee), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Big Ma), Nikiya Mathis (Ainee), and Kara Young (Plum)

Scenic Design Arnulfo Maldonado
Costume Design Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene
Lighting Design 
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Sound Design Megan Culley
Movement Direction 
Adesola Osakalumi

Production Stage Manager Gregory Fletcher
Stage Manager Priscilla Villanueva

Production may include haze. As sensitivities vary from person to person, if you have specific questions regarding content, please call us at 212.967.7555.



Black millennials across the nation are serious about the radical transformation of our communities. Our interest in asserting the importance of Black lives is evident not only in the decolonization of artistic spaces and seeking justice for our slain, but also in our creation of resources and spaces to serve those of us still in the land of the living. Black Millennials For Flint is a movement that serves African American and Latinx communities at the intersection of environmental justice and civil rights. Their advocacy work and community outreach is profoundly impacting the fight against the nation-wide crisis of lead exposure.

BLACK MILLENNIALS FOR FLINT (#BM4F) is a grassroots environmental justice and civil rights organization with the purpose of bringing like-minded organizations together to collectively take action and advocate against the crisis of lead exposure, specifically in African American and Latinx communities throughout the nation. BM4F is the first African American and Latinx environmental justice and civil rights organization in U.S. history. They served as the leading community-based organization to support the passing of the D.C. Childhood Lead Prevention Amendment Act of 2017. To date, they have donated over 40,000 gallons of water to Flint, Michigan.



Mari Copeny, one of thousands of children poisoned in the Flint Water Crisis, was only six years old when the crisis began. Ever since, she has tirelessly worked to make sure the children of Flint are not forgotten. I am encouraged by her fierce activism, emboldened by her tenacity, and inspired by her initiatives. The children are already leading us; all we have to do is follow them. Follow Little Miss Flint.

LITTLE MISS FLINT: Mari Copeny is an 11-year-old from Flint, Michigan, who is helping her city rebuild from the water crisis. Since 2016, Mari has raised over $500,000 for the nonprofit organization Pack Your Back. These funds have gone towards water distributions, school supply distributions, holiday giveaways, and many more events that have impacted over 25,000 youth in Flint. 



On April 6, 2018, Governor Snyder announced the end of state-funded water distribution in Flint, Michigan. Since the inception of Flint’s Water Crisis, Mission Flint has provided water for Flint residents with heightened vulnerability: low-income residents without a vehicle, the elderly, and residents with disabilities. Their focus on accessibility and their commitment to short-term relief and long-term solutions make Mission Flint essential accomplices in the fight for justice for Flint.

MISSION FLINT: Starting as a group of student activists, Mission Flint is a grassroots organization dedicated to providing short-term relief and developing long-term solutions to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. With activists from all political strains, they distribute bottled water to areas of Flint, primarily targeting low-income citizens without a vehicle, elderly, and/or disabled citizens. By focusing on water drops and community events, the resources are going straight to the people of Flint. All donations made through Mission Flint go directly to buying water.

Background Image Photo Credit: Joseph Augstein

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Performers, prices, and performance details are subject to change.