Announcing the 2021 Porch Plays Festival

Free outdoor showcase of new performances by socially engaged and diverse artists working in theater, dance, music, and storytelling

October 6, 2021 | Staten Island, NY – Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden will host the second annual Porch Plays Festival, a free outdoor showcase of new performances by socially engaged and diverse artists working in theater, dance, music, and storytelling. This festival centers the work of artists from historically marginalized communities, including local and emerging artists and community groups. The festival will be held on Saturday, October 9, at 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM along Cottage Row on Snug Harbor’s historic grounds at 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301. Major funding for the event was received through Con Edison’s Arts Al Fresco initiative. 

To register for the festival, visit

Porch Plays explores the “porch and front stoop” and its role in community building and storytelling. Porches and stoops are unique transitional spaces that encapsulate both public and private life. They are informal meeting grounds for families, neighbors, and friends. The porch has played an essential role as a communal space in American society dating back to the 19th century and has seen a renaissance in the age of COVID-19.

“This year’s Porch Plays Festival is an exciting testament to the power of community,” said Melissa West, Vice President of Curation at Snug Harbor. “Featuring over a dozen original acts in theater, dance, music and storytelling, Porch Plays is a platform for local and citywide artists to share their stories in conversation with important social justice causes of our time. Snug Harbor is proud to reimagine the porch of Cottage Row as a unique and dynamic performance space that brings people together.”

“Con Edison’s commitment to making the arts accessible to all New Yorkers is more important today than ever before. As New York recovers from the pandemic, we are pleased to support local artists and cultural organizations in our ‘Arts Al Fresco’ series. These free public events will connect New Yorkers to vibrant performing artists at outdoor venues and open spaces in our customers’ communities,” said Frances A. Resheske, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Con Edison.

Performers include: OJ in the Yams, Mambembé NY, Women’s Playwright Collective, SKIN Dance Company, Kavia Lewis, HEGAZY, Simone Johnson, Maho Ogawa, Local Fish, Chèredyn, Marisa Tornello, Jenny Pisani, Amanda DeLalla, Carolyn Clark, Zach Rothman-Hicks, Honeychild Coleman, Amelia Dawe Sanders, Salvador Delgado, and Anjoli Chadha.

Community partners and vendors include: Projectivity, LUG Clothing Swap, Freshkills Park, HONK NYC!, Let’s Get Weird Creations, Elysian Earth Jewelry, The Lobabox, Evergreen Artistry, Milknthingz, Nick Zomo Art

This festival emerges out of the upheaval of the pandemic and the urgency against racial and social injustice permeating across the country. At a time when we have been unable to be together, we’ve managed to experience the ingenuity and adaptability of the human spirit. This moment allows for the return to a different kind of community connection: through socially distant bonds on Zoom, and beyond on porches and stoops, in backyards and parks, and in protests. As we reopen our city, we come together in new and reimagined ways that demonstrate our community’s enduring resilience. This shift from reopening to resiliency is an opportunity to examine the creative ways we can be together and how these connections spark solace, laughter, and survival.

Porch Plays is also made possible with funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation.

About Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is an urban oasis where art, history and nature converge. We offer dynamic programming in the arts, horticulture and agriculture for diverse communities and all ages, on our historic 83-acre campus. We envision being a locally impactful, globally renowned destination, true to our values of artistic vibrancy and community, inclusion and discovery, stewardship and conservation.

Snug Harbor is the result of more than four decades of restoration and development to convert a 19th-century charitable rest home for sailors into a regional arts center, botanical gardens and public park.  One of the largest ongoing adaptive reuse projects in America, Snug Harbor encompasses 26 historic structures, 14 botanical gardens, a 2.5-acre urban farm, wetlands, forests and park land on a free, open campus.  Snug Harbor is a proud Smithsonian Affiliate organization. Learn more at All press releases can be found at