Thursday, December 24, 2020

2020 - A Year In Review

Looking back on 2020 has been painful and, frankly, a little strange. Time somehow lost its meaning this year as both March and the last month of the election seemed to last for years in and of themselves. 

Many of our ensemble members experienced deep losses - from jobs to apartments to family members. Moving all of our operations to Zoom also created its own kind of difficulty. Not only is it difficult to create theater this way, but as miraculous as Zoom has been, it has also increased social anxieties and blurred work/home-life boundaries to many who use it. 

However, there have been some “wins” that we’ve experienced, and we have many things to be grateful for. Most of all, we appreciate our audiences who have been flexible, curious, and committed to seeing what was possible amidst the barriers created by the pandemic. Without your support and encouragement, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve even half of what we created this year.

And now, for a breakdown of 2020:

1st Quarter
January-March 2020 

The year started brilliantly. We opened the first production of the season in February - a sold-out run of our world premiere ANIMAL FARM, an adaptation of the novel by George Orwell written by our very own Brandon Walker. Animal Farm, an allegorical play, tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free, and happy.

The play featured four actors - Laura Clare Browne, Erin Cronican, Will Ketter, and Brandon Walker - playing 27 roles, many of whom were played on the actors’ hand and feet. The estate of George Orwell eagerly approved our script and sanctioned our production. The Orwell Society came to see the show and related to its members: “Make the effort [to see it.] It will be worth it. And you have heard that straight from the horse’s mouth.” 

Theater Critics also said:

"I enjoyed it more than the short-lived Broadway production of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four a few years ago." - Opplaud

“Masterful enactment...a smashing way for this group to mark their landmark 10th season." - Short and Sweet NYC

"More timely than ever." - Thinking Theater

"Pulling off Animal Farm with four actors is just the kind of dare The Seeing Place would gravitate towards." - Talkin' Broadway


The cast of ANIMAL FARM.

2nd Quarter
April-June 2020

We had begun pre-production for our 2nd live show, Eugene Ionesco’s EXIT THE KING, when the shutdown in NYC started. Like many, we did not know how long the shutdown would last, so we faithfully moved our pre-production discovery sessions online, with the cast and creative team approximating the work we do in-person through the lens of the web camera. After several weeks of work, we started to see that the shutdown would be lasting much longer than anticipated. We gathered with our ensemble to discuss the possibility of performing the play online. Collectively, we determined that due to the physical nature of the storytelling, the production would be served best as an in-person performance. So we put this particular play - and the rest of the season - on hiatus.

If we weren’t going to perform our season as planned, we asked ourselves what else could we do online that would help engage our patrons and fulfill on our mission to help audiences “see themselves”? Our answer was to recreate our Education and Outreach program for the online world. In late March and all of April and May, we held three classes/outreach events per week to hundreds of participants across the globe, from professional level acting classes to our community Drama Book Club which explored plays from a literary perspective. 

Participants in our "Introduction to Linklater" course, led by TSP member Jon L Peacock (center)

Participants in our Drama Book Club, led by TSP members Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker

In May we were honored by the Indie Theater Fund with an unrestricted grant to help us with loss of income due to the pandemic. We’re very grateful for their unending support of independent theater in NYC.

In late May, our collective world stopped with the death of George Floyd. We immediately put a pause on our programming and took a long, hard look at our practices to begin to eradicate any racism in our programming and operations. Our board and staff released our Solidarity Statement for Black Lives Matter (read here) and we also created a broader Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement (read here.) We continue to grow and learn through the work of our tireless Black brothers and sisters - to start, we're educating ourselves through books, articles, videos, and panel discussions - as well as the two month anti-racist training course being provided by the Indie Theater Fund.

This work will never be done. Until our racist systems are replaced, equity is common, and restitution is made, white supremacy will always seep into the practices of theaters and other organizations. We can only promise that we will keep educating ourselves, listening to Black and Brown people, and making changes based on what we learn.

3rd Quarter
July-September 2020

Because of the civic unrest related to Mr Floyd’s death plus the countless others including Breonna Taylor, Brandon and Erin sat down to discuss the possibility of creating a social justice program as an extension of our season. In it we would address a key social issue, partner with an organization currently fighting to address that key issue, and help our audience take action steps to make a difference in this area. Thus, the Ripple For Change Series was borne. 

The inspiration for the program name came from this quote:  

“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change.” - Tim Cook

Each RIPPLE FOR CHANGE AWARD comes with the following: 
• a financial prize worth $1000 or more for a chosen non-profit
• a benefit performance in the non-profit's honor using a play that mirrors the efforts of the recipient organization
• promotion and support as an official Ripple For Change Award Winner

The first production in this series was DUTCHMAN by LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka.) DUTCHMAN presents a stylized encounter that illustrates hatred between Blacks and whites in America as well as the political and psychological conflicts facing Black American men in the 1960s. We chose to benefit Black Theatre Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration and preservation of the theatrical visions of the African Diaspora.

The play was performed live via Zoom and streamed via YouTube, and featured Broadway greats Timothy Ware and Eugene Barry Hill, along with Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker. The cast received a glowing review in the New York Times for our timeless and relevant work (including photos on the front page of the Arts section. Read the review here.)

Other critics raved about it as well:

"The Seeing Place's reading of Baraka's scathing work about an encounter in a New York City subway car between a white woman and a Black man premiered on the same day that civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis died and even his colleagues' tributes unintentionally highlighted the pervasiveness of racism in America as well as the continued urgency of the kinds of conversations that productions such as Dutchman can foster...Both Ware and Cronican are excellent." - Thinking Theater NYC 

"Dutchman is so relevant at this moment of protest of Black Lives Matter and is a testament of the power of great writing of Mr. Baraka. Both actors are great, very moving and absorbing in their roles. The heat of the day and the heat of the play got to me. I loved the reading." - Hi Drama

Hundreds of people took part in our production of DUTCHMAN as audience members and as participants in our panel discussion: Race in America: Action Steps. (Click to watch the panel discussion.) With this, we knew that the series was important and there to stay. 

The summer was very hard for many people across the nation. Many people lost their jobs, and there was an epidemic of homelessness - especially in the LGTBQ community whose youths were being kicked out of their homes at an alarming rate. So we decided that the second production of the Ripple for Change series would William Shakespeare’s comedy A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, presented as a LGTBQIA+ story with a woman playing the character of Lysander and the characters of Puck and Oberon being genderfluid. The production benefited The Ali Forney Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.

The play was performed live via Zoom and streamed via YouTube, with performances by guest artist Dan Mack and 7 members of The Seeing Place’s permanent ensemble (Laura Clare Browne, Erin Cronican, Elli DiLorenzo, Will Ketter, Jon L Peacock, Brandon Walker and Weronika Helena Wozniak) with original music by the incomparable Randi Driscoll. The play was named “Best Theater to Stream Online” by Timeout New York, and “What To Watch” by Times Square Chronicles. Critics loved the imaginative production which utilized fantastical technical elements only possible online:

"The Seeing Place Theater’s Zoom production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is perhaps the best Zoom work I’ve seen so far..." - Ewing Reviewing

"The Seeing Place Theater, now in its tenth season, offers indeed a talented ensemble of actors in a delightful late-summer mounting made for Zoom." - Broadway World

"The creativity artists are showing as they play with this new format is, honestly, delightful. Overall, this is a very enjoyable production of Midsummer, and it couldn’t be for a better cause." - Bitter Gertrude

We had a wonderful panel discussion: Action Steps: How to Address Homelessness in the LGTBQIA+ Youth Community, introduced by Carlina Rivera, New York City Councilwoman District 2 (Click here to watch the panel discussion.)


In May we were honored by the Ravenal Foundation with a surprise unrestricted grant to help us with loss of income due to the pandemic, which we were immediately able to allocate toward artist salaries for our production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.

4th Quarter
October-December 2020

The end of the 3rd Quarter brought the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was devastating for many including the members of our ensemble. We began to brainstorm about ways to honor her legacy, and we realized that one of her greatest contributions to society was her voice for women. In the face of the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, we decided to present a play about women’s reproductive rights.

In October and November we presented Pulitzer Prize finalist KEELY AND DU by Jane Martin. KEELY AND DU is a volatile drama about abortion rights: Du is a right-to-life activist, and Keely is the pregnant rape victim Du is confining to keep her from having an abortion. Through the play these two women find a way to transcend their circumstances and the ideological issues that separate them.

The play featured guest artist Audrey Heffernan Meyer and TSP ensemble members Erin Cronican, Robin Friend, Olivia Hanna Hardin, and Brandon Walker. It benefited Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region, a non-profit specializing in women’s reproductive health, specifically abortion services. In addition to being the only state-licensed abortion facility in Missouri for many years, RHS is the longest standing non-profit abortion provider in the state of Missouri.

The critics, again, were blown away by what we were able to create via Zoom:

"The excellent company pulled this viewer into the situation so intensely that he found himself yelling at Walter and Du in Keely's defense. Naturally, a staged production would more effectively present pivotal physical moments, but The Seeing Place greatly succeeds in offering an emotionally rich episode of personal and political theatre." - Broadway World 

 "Astonishing, marvelous, engaging, truthful and downright comic at times."- Theater Life 

 "The Seeing Place Theater has done it again with their rendition of Keely and Du...The virtual set is dark and mysterious enough to fit the eerie mood of the performance...The end of the play is quite surprising and relevant to today’s discussions surrounding reproductive rights."- Manhattan With A Twist

We finished the production with a panel discussion: Action Steps for Protecting Women's Choices. (Click here to watch the panel discussion.) 

The cast of KEELY AND DU.

In December we were named a "Recommended Charity" by The Stern Opportunity - a group of MBA scholars in NYC - in their roundup of their favorite places for people who are looking for ways to give back.

It’s now the end of the year, and looking back we’re stunned at what we’ve been able to do while so hampered by this awful pandemic. It’s a testament to the resolve of our artists and the openness of our audiences to keep innovating when road blocks were and continue to be presented. 

Looking ahead to 2021  

What’s in store for 2021? We’ll plan to present four plays via the Ripple For Change program, relaunch our online Education and Outreach Program, and - COVID willing - return to the live stage for two in-person productions in the latter half of the year. 

In the meantime, please: 

Click here to join our mailing list to be notified about upcoming events.

Click here to make a donation so that we can continue to bring our work to you.

We wish you health. We wish you joy. We wish you a plethora of great theater, both online and in-person when the pandemic clears. Happy holidays! 

Erin Cronican, 
and the Ensemble and Board of The Seeing Place Theater

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Seeing Place is More Than Theater


In 2009, The Seeing Place Theater was born as an artist-driven theater company - selecting plays that accurately reflected the issues facing their community, with an emphasis placed on education, authenticity, and social justice with programming that would be accessible and affordable for all audiences.

Since then, we have presented over 40 full productions of Pulitzer-Prize, Tony, and Olivier Award winning plays, as well as 5 world premieres and countless staged readings, with a particular focus on stories by and about women, LGTBQIA+, BIPOC, immigrant, and disabled communities.

Like you, we believe that theater has the power to change minds and change hearts. You can help us bring powerful theater to the world.

Are you with us? Make a tax-deductible donation here. Every little bit helps make the world a better place.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,

The Seeing Place's Board and Ensemble

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @TheSeeingPlace

Monday, October 26, 2020

KEELY AND DU - A Fight for Women's Rights

By Erin Cronican, TSP Executive Artistic Director

This week we unveil our newest production, the Pulitzer-Prize nominated drama KEELY AND DU by Jane Martin. It’s a searing look at the blocking of women’s rights related to abortion, domestic violence, and the ability to control our own bodies. 

The play is being presented LIVE (via Zoom) Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1, 2020 - 7pm Eastern, with a streamed recording November 3-7, 2020. Tickets are available here: - 100% of the proceeds are being donated to Reproductive Health Services, Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region.

I have to admit, I was very tentative when Brandon (Walker - Producing Artistic Director) suggested that we do this piece. The play doesn’t pull any punches - it can be incredibly triggering for anyone who has experienced abortion, miscarriage, domestic violence, kidnapping, and not being believed by those who are charged with keeping you safe. I didn’t know if I had it in me to bring something so serious and important to the world when the world is already so fraught.

But this is exactly why this play is the right play, RIGHT NOW.

How did this event come to be?

It started when we sat down with our ensemble to talk about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For many of us, it was a devastating blow in an already trying time. What could we do as a theater company to honor her memory and take up the charge on issues that meant a lot to her legacy? With as helpless as many of us have felt to make any kind of difference, we contemplated what we could do to encourage action steps that we as concerned citizens could accomplish?

We started exploring different texts related to women’s rights, but kept coming back to KEELY AND DU. Once we made our selection and secured the licensing/rights, we began to look at what non-profit organizations we could partner with, not only for our Action Steps panel discussion, but also as the beneficiary of our RIPPLE FOR CHANGE AWARD. And I immediately thought of the work of Dr. Colleen McNicholas.

SIDEBAR; If you haven’t already, I highly recommend watching the documentary REVERSING ROE (2018) which is currently viewable on Netflix.

In this documentary we are introduced to Dr. McNicholas, an abortion advocate who is single-handedly changing the lives of women across the Midwest by providing abortion access to those who have none. The film talks about the journey of Roe vs Wade in the courts, and I wept multiple times while watching it. I was so inspired by the women who were profiled - including doctors, politicians, and filmmakers taking up the cause - that I immediately got onto Twitter and began to follow them: including US House Candidate @JillSchupp, Missouri State Senator @SenatorNasheed, US House Candidate @WendyDavis, filmmaker @RBraceySherman and Planned Parenthood Chief Medical Offer @DocMcNick. I wanted to know more and to be able to support their efforts.

Within 24 hours I received a notification that Dr McNicholas had followed me back, and I have to admit I fan-girled a little bit! Here is this incredible person who speaks on behalf of women on Capitol Hill, is interviewed by NPR, travels around 75% of the month to neighboring states to provide critical services to women in need, and puts her life on the line every day fighting for what she believes in. To have her following me on Twitter was and is incredibly humbling.

So when we decided to produce KEELY AND DU and were looking for someone to partner with, I immediately thought of her. I never dreamed that she would say yes - not only to being on our panel, but helping us connect with her employer, Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region - the states ONLY clinic that provided crucial abortion services, so that they could be the beneficiary for this very special presentation.

This is when we fully realized the power we have as artists to make social justice change. Non-profit theater, hand-in-hand with non-profit medicine and advocacy, can move mountains.

A Personal Journey

I’m very honored to be playing Keely, a victim of spousal rape who becomes pregnant and upon going to get an abortion is kidnapped by a extremest right-to-life group intent on holding her until her baby comes to full term. As someone who has personally experienced sexual assault by an intimate partner and also one who has had my abortion rights challenged, the play hits a very deep chord for me. Furthermore, as a woman mired in health care hell as a metastatic breast cancer patient, I am very well aware of how tenuous my position is as a woman, as I’m constantly pushing to advocate for my own care and the care of other women like me.

The opportunity to use theater to express what life has been like for me, in a way that hopefully resonates with our audiences, means a great deal to me. It also means a great deal to me that we don’t just stop at creating art - The Seeing Place feels it’s crucial to explore “what’s next” once the curtain falls. What can we do, as individuals and as a collective society, to bring change? How do we bridge the gaps between ideologies? How do we make sure people’s rights are protected against extremism? How do we take daily action that makes a difference on a local, regional, and national level?

My first answer to that is, of course, to VOTE. Early voting is available in many states at the moment, building up to our official Election Day on November 3, 2020. Make sure your voice is heard.

My second answer is to keep educating yourself on the issues that matter to you. Read books and articles by experts, watch documentaries, have conversations with civic leaders, and never stop asking questions.

My third answer is to keep calling for empathy, in yourself and others. Just because you may not have experienced something doesn’t mean that it isn’t urgent or important. Imagine those people who rights are being taken away and/or ignored. How would you feel? Your empathy is a vital tool in making a difference.

The fourth answer is to buy your ticket to see KEELY AND DU - being presented LIVE (via Zoom) Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1, 2020 - 7pm Eastern, with a streamed recording November 3-7, 2020. Tickets are available here: - and then register for the discussion panel with Dr. McNicholas.

The play stars Audrey Heffernan Meyer, Brandon Walker, Erin Cronican, Robin Friend and Olivia Hanna Hardin. Co-Directed by Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker, and produced by the members of The Seeing Place Theater Ensemble.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

We're Reviewed in the New York Times!

We're very excited to announce that our production of DUTCHMAN, by Amiri Baraka, was reviewed by Maya Phillips of the New York Times, with our photo front and center!

Part of the review reads:
"The Seeing Place production, which starred Timothy Ware and Erin Cronican and was directed by Brandon Walker, highlighted the sexual friction between Clay and Lula. Cronican’s Lula gives Clay a lusty up and down, hungrily takes bites of her apple, a seductive smile creeping across her face. Ware’s Clay smirks gamely in response; he seems mostly unbothered by her odd diversions and casually racist remarks and appears to lust back...By underlining the sexual power dynamic between the man and the woman, Walker’s direction simplifies the larger reach of the play and what the characters represent. The tension becomes less about the matchup of Blackness and whiteness in society than about the interracial fraternization of one Black man and one white woman..."

We also appear in the PRINT EDITION - with a teaser image on the front page of the Arts section:

Read the full review here:

Learn more about our production here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


Come see our reading of DUTCHMAN by Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones, starring Timothy Ware, Erin Cronican, and Eugene Barry-Hill, directed by Brandon Walker, stage managed by Hailey Vest. The readings are taking place via Zoom on July 18 & 19, 2020 with proceeds benefitting Black Theatre Network

For full information and to get your tickets, visit

For full information and to get your tickets, visit

Friday, May 1, 2020

Sonnet Marathon Featuring TSP Members!

In honor of April 23, 2020 - Shakespeare's death day (also attributed to his birthday), members of The Seeing Place participated in a Sonnet Marathon online. The event was conceived and hosted by TSP Alumnus, Lila Smith (Two Rooms, Othello.). Each artist was asked to choose one non-profit arts organization to support. As it was required that no organization could be supported twice, TSP asked Executive Artistic Director, Erin Cronican, to read in honor of The Seeing Place and then Producing Artistic Director Brandon Walker and Ensemble Member William Ketter chose other organizations near and dear to their hearts.

We initially planned to share the videos of our ensemble reading these sonnets. But because many actors in the event (including Erin and Brandon) are union actors, there was a rule that stated that the video had to be removed from the internet within four days. So, instead, we've opted to list the sonnets that were read by the actors, along with links to the organizations that they were supporting:

Brandon Walker, Sonnet #27
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body's work's expired:
For then my thoughts--from far where I abide--
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul's imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.
To make a donation in honor of New Fortune Theater Company, visit

Erin Cronican: Sonnet #71
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.
To make a donation in honor of The Seeing Place, visit

William Ketter, Sonnet #93
So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
Like a deceived husband; so love's face
May still seem love to me, though altered new;
Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place:
For there can live no hatred in thine eye,
Therefore in that I cannot know thy change.
In many's looks, the false heart's history
Is writ in moods, and frowns, and wrinkles strange.
But heaven in thy creation did decree
That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell;
Whate'er thy thoughts, or thy heart's workings be,
Thy looks should nothing thence, but sweetness tell.
How like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow,
If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show!
To make a donation in honor of EPIC Players, visit

To learn more about the event, visit:

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Special Award from the Indie Theater Fund!

We're thrilled to announce that The Seeing Place has been granted an award from The Indie Theater Fund to help support our efforts to bring programming to NYC audiences (and beyond!) during this challenging time. 
We will be using these funds to further support our education program, which you can learn more about here:

If you are an indie theater company/artist, you may be eligible for an award as well. To find out, fill out this form:

To contribute to the fund, please visit:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Podcast Interview: How to Produce Your Own Work

TSP's Executive Artistic Director, Erin Cronican, was a guest on this wonderful podcast, "I Love Theatre: Now What?" (which was recorded just before the pandemic shut down.)

In this episode, hear Erin and podcast host Steph Newman talk about:
· How nonprofits versus for-profits differ with finances
· What producing your own work is like
· How Erin differs from her co-founder, Producing AD Brandon Walker
· How TSP crafts their seasons
· What producing in NYC is like versus everywhere else
· The 3 questions that are a MUST for choosing plays
· The strong connection Erin has with Margaret Edson’s play, WIT
· How you can get cast or involved at The Seeing Place Theater
· Great advice on how to make a real connection professionally
· How actors can treat themselves like a business
· Characteristics that mean you might be a leader
Take a listen here, and leave a comment to let us know you what you think!