Impact Theatre Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1990 as a collective of artists with the goal of provoking community dialogue and social change with real results. Since our inception, we have been innovating to inspire people to think differently about the social issues that define our society through an imaginative theater arts repertory of cabaret, vaudeville, and modern dance. Partnered with the Manhattan Class Company from 1990-1995, and continuing up to the present, these productions have toured venues throughout the U.S., gaining accolades from community organizations like New York’s LaGuardia Community College and the New York State Department of Veterans Affairs, and generating positive coverage in such media as The New York Times and American Theatre Magazine.
Artistic Director Fay Simpson who serves as conceiver-director-choreographer and producer leads Impact Theatre. Currently Associate Arts Professor in the Graduate Acting Program at NYU Tisch, Fay has taught at The Yale School of Drama, The New School, Michael Howard Studios, The Studio/NY, Marymount Manhattan College, and the Actor’s Center and has coached theater companies in Berlin, Toulouse, and London. She also co-founded “Theatre for Social Change,” a program in Tanzania for Yale Drama and Divinity students to help stimulate dialogue among marginalized communities, sharing theatre and music as a means to promote management of social conflict and religious intolerance among Christians and Muslims. Utilizing “Lucid Body,” a technique Fay developed as an aid to the actor in need of breaking out of habitual body, in order to develop a clear vehicle for any body, she also coaches for film, TV, and stage, working with such actors as Lupita Nyong’o who earned an Oscar for her role in 12 Years A Slave.
A collection of original productions…has been spearheaded by Impact Theatre under Fay’s direction, intended to engage audiences’ hearts and minds in consideration of leading social issues. The NYT described Fay’s production of “Homeless” as “a sensitive and trenchant exploration of the tenuous line between those with and without homes.” Of “Leaving Theatre,” an interactive stage piece utilizing both actors and actual military veterans, Peter Cole, Chief of the Learning Resource Center, Department of Veterans Affairs at New York Harbor Healthcare System says, “Feedback was extremely positive. Veterans in attendance said ‘They got it right’ and civilians said ‘Now I better understand,’ creating a unique moment of Veteran-civilian unity.’” SCOTTY, inspired by Raymond Carver’s short story, A Small Good Thing, was choreographed by Fay while she was artist-in-residence at Stella Adler Studio of Acting. The piece explores the difficulties of surmounting our own isolation to achieve true empathy for others.
Future development of projects like those described above depends upon the availability of seed funds to help support creativity, synthesis, and production. We are currently developing a one-man stage presentation focusing on the challenge of young males with easy access to guns. We hope the impact of this stage piece will be as profound as our Veterans Project, to which one Vietnam veteran responded: “Your workshop continues to work deeply in me. I am learning to work with my PTSD. I have prayed my whole life for this simple insight. I have been dead. I am coming to life. I am deeply grateful.”