Recreating Lin-Manuel Miranda's Childhood Memories


Play at Payson

By Luis A. Miranda
Manhattan Times July 19, 2017

Luz, Abuela Claudia and I spent countless hours at the Payson Avenue Playground, located on the corner of the same street where we have lived since 1981. During the 80’s, it was the magical place where our little Lin-Manuel played for hours on the swings and slides. He would run around and around until it was time for his afternoon nap.

Decades later, our nephew Miguel’s favorite place was also Payson Avenue Playground.  Abuela Claudia, Rosa, Landa, Luz and I spent countless hours alternating between keeping watch and joining in his games until Miguel tired himself out. During that time the Parks Department had modernized the playground and Miguel’s favorite activity was to run in and out of the sprinklers that shot out showers until his play clothes were drenched. I would often sing him the same lullaby in Spanish I used to sing to Lin-Manuel.

Recently when we needed to film a short documentary together as a family, we all met at Payson Avenue Playground. We wanted to create a new memory within the same place that had been so special for two generations over 36 years.


While we were there, we soon saw how a third generation was enjoying the park as much as Lin-Manuel and Miguel had when they were kids. It occurred to us to call Jennifer Hoppa, Parks Administrator in Northern Manhattan. With her warm smile and her unique desire to serve, Jennifer showed up instantly and joined with us as we discussed how to create new experiences at the Playground.

As we brainstormed, we realized that involving People’s Theatre Project, which has been serving over 1000 New Yorkers every year since 2008, would be an ideal partnership. This week, the arts organization started inviting neighborhood families to attend and enjoy theater as an active art form and as a way to participate in creating community. On July 25th, People’s Theatre Project will be back at 10 a.m.  Then on August 14, 15 and 16, they’ll lead a mini-camp for kids and families.


I hope all our neighbors visit the corner park on those days and any other so that they too can create unique memories in that very special place for the Miranda clan – the Payson Avenue Playground.

For more information, please visit or call 646.398.9062.

People’s Theatre Project is hiring a part-time Administrative Coordinator!



About People's Theatre Project:


People's Theatre Project cultivates ongoing artistic dialogue with young people in NYC’s neighborhoods of color to amplify their voices and grow local action. Through student-centered and culturally relevant arts-based programming, youth participants are immersed in experiential learning projects that deepen their sense of power, strengthen their connection to their communities and support the development of creative, collaborative and compassionate leaders with 21st century skills.


About the Position:


People's Theatre Project is seeking an Administrative Coordinator who will support daily operations in program, development, and general administration areas. Duties will include managing teaching staff schedules, researching and maintaining list of prospective funders, supporting prep and follow up of all fundraising efforts, and supporting school invoicing procedures. The individual will work in a collaborative and team-oriented work environment in Northern Manhattan and will report to the Co-Executive Directors.


Candidates should be comfortable working collaboratively in a small team environment. The role requires exceptional organizational, verbal and written communication skills, a strong ability to manage multiple projects at once, and attention to detail. Candidates should be resourceful, able to anticipate team needs, and must demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and integrity.

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Theatre Fun in the Sun!



We love our parks and playgrounds - just like you! This summer, People’s Theatre Project is offering free theatre activities in Payson Playground for kids ages 4 - 10 and their adult family members. You and your child (or grandchild!) will play fun games and work together with a professional PTP teaching artist to make theatre inspired by our parks. Join us for one or more drop-in classes, and sign up for the mini camp!






Nosotros amamos nuestros parques- igual que tú! Este verano, People’s Theatre Project estará ofreciendo actividades de teatro gratis en Payson Playground para niños de 4-10 años y los adultos en su familia. Usted y su hijo (o nieto!) participarán en juegos divertidos y colaborarán junto a un artista profesional de PTP para hacer una pequeña obra de teatro inspirada por nuestros parques. Vengan para un taller o más y regístrense para nuestro mini-campamento en Agosto!




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STORM 2017 Recap

People's Theatre Project | Act for Your Community

Thank you to all who helped to make "The People Storm the Palace 2017" a huge success!! To our participants, families, teaching artists, program partners, sponsors, and audiences - YOU DID IT!

If you weren't able to attend, show your support by making a contribution HERE.


Check out the entire photo collection on our Facebook page HERE...


...and see who walked the Red Carpet HERE.

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How 3 Uptown Women Are Using the Stage to Empower the Community

By Carolina Pichardo | DNA Info


WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The members and founders of the People’s Theatre Project all have different backgrounds and careers, but they all share a common desire to use the stage as a springboard for social justice.

Mary Anderson, 69, is a retired psychiatric nurse; Maria Aristy, 67, is a retired home attendant while Carmen Barbosa, 75, provided child care before she retired. All three of them are activists, actresses and program coordinators and volunteer their time and their artistic skills performing live original shows as well as staging original plays submitted by people from the community as part of the nonprofit's mission.

Their work typically travels to the residents via different venues in the community including schools and after-school programs, to help create and perform unique vignettes on community-driven topics, such as domestic violence, housing displacement, immigration and aggressive landlords.

“It’s like therapy for me," said Aristy, who has been performing with the program for eight years.

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El Nuevo Plan de 'Storm the Palace' | Del 18 al 23 de mayo

The People Storm the Palace está a sólo un mes de distancia, y es hora de emocionarse! Estamos haciendo las cosas un poco diferente este año y queremos que sepas qué hay de nuevo.

Aquí está el plan:

  • Admisión GRATUITA - Gracias a la generosidad de nuestros patrocinadores, todos los boletos son gratuitos este año. ¡Traiga a su familia entera!
  • Todo Sobre Usted - No hay premios, No hay discursos grandes, No hay eventos VIP. Sólo nuestros actores de la comunidad en el escenario haciendo lo que mejor saben hacer. Puede haber algunas sorpresas, pero este año se trata de las artes, la comunidad y las historias.
  1. ¡Es un Festival! - El gran evento en el United Palace es sólo el toque final este año. Del 18 al 20 de mayo en el Centro Cultural Alianza Dominicana, los niños, adolescentes y adultos de los programas públicos gratuitos de PTP estrenarán 5 obras originales en su totalidad. Así que ven a ver los espectáculos completos en Alianza, luego echa un vistazo a los más destacados de nuestras escuelas y programas públicos en el United Palace el 23 de mayo.

¿Qué crees? Estamos preparándonos y deseando que llegue el dia y esperamos que tu también estés. Es GRATIS, pero lo mejor es reservar sus entradas con anticipación AQUÍ.


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The Scoop on Storm 2017

The People Storm the Palace is just about a month away, and it's time to get excited! We're doing things a bit differently this year and wanted you to know what's new.

Here's the scoop:

  1. FREE Admission - Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, all tickets are free of charge this year. So bring your whole family!
  2. All About You - No awards, No big speeches, No VIP events. Just our community actors on stage doing what they do best. There may be a few surprises, but this year it's all about the arts, the community, and the stories.
  3. It's a Festival! - The big event at the United Palace is just the icing on the cake this year. From May 18-20 at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, the kids, teens, and adults in PTP's free public programs will premiere 5 original pieces in their entirety. So come see the full shows at Alianza, then check out the highlights from our school and public programs at the Palace on May 23.

What do you think? We're looking forward to it, and hope you are too. It's FREE, but it's best to Reserve your tickets in advance HERE.

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Apply to be a Teaching Artist with PTP

People's Theatre Project is currently seeking vibrant professional teaching artists of all interdisciplinary performance specialties to join our passionate and growing family of artist-activist-educators. PTP teaching artists are placed in residencies within our 30 school and community sites across four boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Our devising curriculum is designed around three rigorous Writing and Speaking Common Core Standards that together, demand self-assessment, critical thinking, clarity, revision, editing, collaboration and creativity. Each site-specific residency is uniquely tailored to the needs of our partner organizations. Residencies generally range in length from 15-20 weeks (with the bulk of residencies occurring in Spring) and culminate in a formal sharing of the participants' devised theatrical collage presented for their community.

Theatre-makers specializing in acting, devised theatre, movement, playwriting, poetry, or puppetry with professional experience and an investment in working with public and independent school students in grades PreK-12 are strongly encouraged to apply.

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Fall Registration Now Open

Become a community actor with People's Theatre Project! 

People's Theatre Project is now seeking children, teens, and adults to take part in a collaborative theatre-making experience from September - December 2016. All programs are offered free of charge and take place at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center on 166th Street in Washington Heights. The youth meet on Saturdays and the adults meet on Wednesday evenings.

Please complete the registration form for one of the following programs.

  • CIRCLE UP 1 - (ages 6-8)
  • CIRCLE UP 2 - (ages 9-12)
  • TO BE HEARD - (ages 13 - 17)
  • UPTOWN ACTION - (ages 18 +)

You will be notified of your enrollment status approximately one week before the program begins. See below for program details.

If you have any questions, please contact Erika Dickerson at 646-398-9062 or


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The Future Is Ours – A Q&A With Junot Díaz

The Uptown Collective | Interview by Led Black


(Photo: Esquire)

Read the Original Interview Here

Junot Díaz is a Dominican superhero. A mild-mannered M.I.T. professor by day, he is a criollo caped crusader with the escudo emblazoned on his chest by night. For the last couple of decades, Junot has lovingly rendered the truths, trials and tribulations of the Dominican Diaspora. With mighty strokes from his pen, Junot has eternally etched the pain, power and profoundness of the Dominican experience onto the annals of literature. He literally put Dominican identity on the map.

Beyond the well-deserved awards and accolades, Junot Díaz is, ultimately, a man of the people. Someone who has not hesitated to speak truth to power – come what may. He is a shining example of the artist as activist. It is only fitting that the People’s Theatre Project (PTP) will be honoring this erstwhile man of the people at the United Palace right here in Washington Heights on June 21st.

Junot took some time to talk to us about the work of the PTP, racism, immigration, activism and the Trump phenomenon. Please read the Q&A below and purchase your tickets to join the People’s Theatre Project in honoring Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Díaz and director of community pediatrics at the Columbia University Medical Center Dr. Dodi Meyer on what will be a very special night.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit or call 646-398-9062.

Q. Since it’s inception the People’s Theatre Project (PTP) has been about bringing theater to the community. Why do you believe that is important?

Communities like ours have historically been under-served by arts organizations and when we’re talking about the Heights there’s no question that not enough of our young people have access to the performing arts. Theater is one of our oldest and most important art practices and it has the ability to open up a person, to change them, to give them hope knowledge and wisdom. Theater is the closest many of us come to sitting around a fire and listening to a storyteller—it links us to a very old and very necessary human need for collective narratives. As a form theater is extraordinary in encouraging introspection, deliberation, compassion, for engaging the full spectrum of our emotional selves and most significantly of all theater has historically been an excellent way to educate us in being human.

You don’t have to look further than HAMILTON to understand the revolutionary impact theater can have. There are thousands of thousands of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s in our community but because they haven’t been given access to the tools we will never benefit from their genius. That’s why PTP is so important—it helps those geniuses we have in our community come into their own.

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