History

What Will the Neighbors Say? was founded in 2016 by Sam Hood Adrain, James Clements, Jorge Morales Picó, and Ana Cristina Schuler, who met while studying Drama at the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU: Tisch. The WWTNS?  team had already collaborated on two productions in 2016, and after their productive and enriching experiences, they formed the company to continue their foray into theatre-making.

Since its creation, WWTNS? has inhabited a space of innovation within the New York non-profit community. Its focus on creating new work and staging exclusively original plays asserts its commitment to giving voice to those without it, exposing audiences to viewpoints that remain starkly absent from traditional theatre platforms available to them. WWTNS? has premiered 5 original plays totaling over 120 performances in 5 cities in 4 countries on 2 continents. It also launched its education and community arts departments, and created jobs for over 50 artists, writers, and technicians across the world - 75% of them female identifying. Specifically in New York, the company has developed a strong audience base, with its shows having an average sell-through of 75%. It has presented work at HERE, IRT, Theatre for the New City, American Theatre of Actors, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, The Hudson Guild Theatre, The Sheen Centre, The Living Gallery, The Plaxall Gallery and WOW Cafe Theatre.

Along with its theatre programming, WWTNS? has organized a variety of different community arts events in order to further engage our local audiences through regular programming. The company has hosted symposium and community events, including our monthly event storytime, a free storytelling event, along with various fundraising events.

WWTNS? has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and Thespis Festivals, as well as various venues on the East Coast and abroad. In the first year of operations, WWTNS? has been featured in The Evening Times, The Herald, The Providence Journal, The Daily Mail, STV, BBC Radio, My Entertainment WorldMotif MagazineMooney on Theatre,  and was BroadwayWorld's New England Pick of the Month. Its show, The Diana Tapes, was also shortlisted for the Holden Street Theatre Award. The company was also invited to participate in IRT's 3B Residency Program, and was produced in Toronto with their show The Diana Tapes. The company has also received institutional support from Donn Russell of the Peg Sandvoort Foundation, the Gracie Annabelle Fund for the Arts, and the Rhode Island Foundation, among others.

While in residency at Rhode Island, WWTNS? launched its educational program with Untitled Shape Show, an original musical for young audiences. The show gives young local theatre enthusiasts the opportunity to perform on stage with professional actors and deals with themes of bullying, acceptance, and the importance of being who you are. In its time in Rhode Island, the company also volunteered at the Central Falls Summer Camp, bringing children in underserved communities workshops in theatre, acting, and singing. 

In its first year, the company also inaugurated its community outreach program, storytime (formerly Neighborhood Story Project), which creates a space for all through the ancient verbal tradition of storytelling. To further support its commitment to community outreach, the company also hosted People as People: A Symposium on Diversity, which tackled the topic of diversity in casting and stage performances as it relates to gender identity, race diversity, and sexuality.