For the first time ever, a South Williamsburg park will have extensive free arts programming this summer when separate film and theater series debut in Sternberg Park, the Southside’s largest greenspace bordered by Montrose Avenue and Boerum, Lorimer, and Leonard streets.
The film series, presented by the film collective Third Ward Moviehouse, will consist of six hour−long collections of short films. The shorts will either be in Spanish with English subtitles or vice versa, the better to appeal to the large Spanish−speaking population of the Southside.
Dubbed “Parque de Pelicula” (“Movie Park”), the series will use Sternberg’s handball courts as screens, with the audience seated on either side of the courts. Each film session will be followed by an interactive discussion.
Summed up Chris Henderson, Creative Director of Moviehouse, ”Part of what we do is create an environment out of what’s already there. We try to interact with the surroundings as a way to facilitate conversation.”
The theater series, presented by the Woodshed Collective, also aims to make creative use of Sternberg’s space. Woodshed will present four short plays, each of which will be staged in four different parts of the park like the jungle gym and the handball courts.
Last year, Woodshed presented “Twelve Ophelias,” an original play about the Shakespeare heroine found dead in a pool in Hamlet, in McCarren Park pool, another example of their site−specific work. This year, they are commissioning plays related in some way to the Southside.
“We don’t want to drop any old play in there, but really develop some things that are created specifically for the Southside,” said Stephen Squibb, Woodshed’s artistic director.
“[Sternberg] is a huge park, a wonderful park. We’re just excited to get to work.”
Stephanie Thayer, Administrator for North Brooklyn Parks and Executive Director of the Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn, which is sponsoring both series, said the programming helps redress the glaring lack of programming attention historically paid to the Southside.
“It’s really important for OSA and the Parks Department to provide programming for residents across the districts, for condo dwellers and people that live in Public Housing,” she said.
More good things are in store for Sternberg: By the spring of 2010, the park will have a new dog run, Thayer said.