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A 501(c)3 theatre company with a mission to provoke questions through untold stories.

Founded in 2016, What Will the Neighbors Say? is helmed by Sam Hood Adrain and James Clements.
Since its inception, the company has premiered 11 original plays in 6 cities in 4 countries on 2 continents, and co-presented a further 24 new works. Over the course of these projects, the Neighbors have created jobs for over 200 artists - 75% of them non cis-male identifying and 50% of them members of the global majority or immigrants.

Through their robust community engagement department, the Neighbors have organized symposiums, staged annual benefits for organizations ranging from Planned Parenthood to PERIOD and hosted free public events, including their free flagship program, "storytime," a night of storytelling and live music.

The Neighbors are members of the Adjunct Faculty at Marymount Manhattan College, and were Adjuncts and the Company-in-Residence at CUNY Queens College. Additionally, they have taught at the Wuhan Institute of Design & Science, Ohio State University and the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, amongst others. They also provide free arts education for students K-12 through their What Will the Kids Say? initiative.


Since 2016, the Neighbors’ Co-Artistic Directors have created and commissioned a number of source-based history plays, including WWI drama “Sources of Light Other Than the Sun,” Romanov epic “Four Sisters,” media thriller “The Diana Tapes,” historical multimedia drama “Beauty Freak,” pop culture study “MEDEA/BRITNEY” and Spanish Civil War music play “At the Barricades.” During the course of over 175 performances worldwide, these works have been described by critics as "magnifying" (TimeOut), "intricate" (BroadwayWorld), "provocative" (the Providence Journal) and “intellectual”
(Theatre is Easy).

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Using their signature devising methodology, the Neighbors have developed and facilitated a number of research-based devised documentary theatre plays. Some recent examples include: “TRACES,” a devised play about immigrant communities in Queens, presented at the Kupferberg Centre for the Arts, described as "strong and specific” (The Theatre Times); “Agua, Vida y Tierra,” a multi-media piece about Hurricane María and the colonial condition in Puerto Rico, presented at MITU580, recognized by the Brooklyn Arts Council and selected for a BRIClab residency; as well as a number of community-created one-act projects with presenting partners including the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens Public Library and the Queens Memory Project.


The Neighbors originally met as students at the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU, and a significant portion of their work falls strongly into that category. These include: a political clown show, “Dogs of DC,” presented at the Living Gallery to raise funds for Planned Parenthood on the eve of the 2017 Inauguration; the “Untitled Shape Show,” a TYA folk musical that uses non-gendered “shapes” to address bullying and mental health, which has extensively toured North America; and “Third Law,” a devised interactive multi-media theatre game, which was part of the 2022 BRICLab residency and received a sold-out workshop run at MITU580 in Brooklyn.



What Will the Neighbors Say? has been proud to support more than 20 new works in development, presenting or co-presenting them at venues including Catskill Mountain Shakespeare, Alchemical Studios, BRIC House and through the NY International Fringe as co-producers of the “Fringe Club” series at the Nuyorican Poets Café.


Established in 2017, “storytime” is a free night of storytelling and live music for the Neighborhood, held at various venues throughout New York (most recently, the Cell Theatre in Chelsea). Each event features a specific theme (such as “Uplifting Black Stories,” “Not A Day Goes By” or “Waiting”) curated by the visiting musicians (including Eleri Ward, Kathryn Allison and Amyra León) and hosts (including Abby Feldman, Xavier Reyes and Ayla Sullivan). Any audience member who is willing to tell a story is welcome to, creating an authentic and powerful collective experience. This event has so far served over 3500 people in the New York and online, and was recently recognized with a $15k NYC Department of Cultural Affairs CDF Grant.

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Every June, the Neighbors curate a fundraiser for other non-profit organizations, programming high quality events that serve their community and expand their creative circle. Since 2017, they have raised over $8500 from these events, benefiting organizations including Planned Parenthood, PERIOD, Gays Against Guns, The Audre Lorde Project and Stop AAPI Hate alongside artists including Alan Cumming, VICE, Sing Out, Louise!, Theydy Bedbug, Lena Horné, Clara Olshansky and Yvette Lu.

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