Sabrina Peck: Director and Choreographer
Original Works




Young Artists

Cornerstone Theater

About the Artist

Common Green / Common Ground

The personal and political struggle for green space in New York City inspired common green/common ground. Scores of community gardeners participated—from Brooklyn, East Village, Harlem and the South Bronx—giving interviews, participating in workshops, helping with historical research, and joining the cast. NYU drama and dramatic writing students from our course in community-based performance traveled with me into the communities, and co-created the material. Through song, dance, scenes, story and spectacle, the production recounted the creation, flowering and destruction of New York City community gardens and the extraordinary commitment of many New Yorkers to nurture oases of green against all odds.

NYU Drama Associate Professor Jan Cohen-Cruz was the instigator and producer of the project and the co-conceiver of the production. Peggy Pettitt, solo performer extraordinaire, helped the NYU students with character development and acting technique. And I interwove the material—stories, interviews, movement, images and music from each of the sites—into a dramatic whole, teaching class and traveling into the communities every day. We performed the outdoor production in all four participating communities—from the new Bronx River Park to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The audiences of local residents responded with overwhelming enthusiasm. This was one of the most challenging community-based projects of my career.

"It would be very hard for me to forget the kind of impact that the whole production made on me. It was incredibly moving to see my story being told in such a loving way that felt incredibly close and personal. In telling my story—which is only one of many stories about how our surroundings impact us—you gave me and my community a great gift!"
—Majora Carter, Initiator of the creation of Hunt's Point Riverside Park in the Bronx

Sabrina Peck
Jan Cohen-Cruz
Michael Keck and William Catanzaro
Peggy Pettitt
Rosa Maria Roberts
Aresh Jhvadi

Supported by: NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Departments of Drama and Art and Public Policy; Harlem's Project Harmony; the Point CDC in the Bronx; La Plaza Cultural and More Gardens! Coalition in the East Village; Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Greenbridge and Children's Garden Programs; and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. Additional funding provided by NYU Humanities Council, NYU Service/Learning Fund, Deutsche Bank, and the Woodrow Wilson Public Scholar Fund.

"The actual performance was phenomenal. I saw it at Project Harmony, and it was packed, standing room only. It was very powerful. It is rare and wonderful when people cross borough lines, cross neighborhood lines, and cross generations. The performance broke barriers."
—Emily Chan, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, in The Drama Review, Fall 2002

"Some community-based art is less interesting aesthetically. They are marvelous as far as getting to hear from people you don't usually hear from—a tremendous energy is released. Sabrina, however, has the training and the vision of an individual artist... Aesthetically, quite frankly—and this is really more Sabrina than anyone else—it's one of the most interesting community-based plays that I've ever seen."
—Jan Cohen Cruz,
author of Local Acts: Community-Based performance in the U.S., writing about common green/common ground in
The Drama Review