An intimate street theater performance honoring the afterlife of the written word

We live again when the words we wrote are read aloud to you, the Listener



“Books are people, 

people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”    

E.B. White

“When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation."

Jorge Luis Borges

Each day a new Dead Writer is chosen to be celebrated on their birthday.

Public locations are chosen that are relaxed urban environments with modest pedestrian traffic.

The Reader invites passersby to choose either Random Quotes or short selections from a "Menu" of works by that day's featured writer. The selection is then read out loud by the Reader to the Listeners. Each performance lasts between 20 seconds and 3 minutes. Afterwards, the Listeners receive a small program for the performance in the form of a business-card-sized "Memorial Card" with the years of the writer's life, the performance/birthday date,  a quotation from the writer and the At-A-Site Theater mission statement and website.

Audience interactions are as varied as the diverse populations of passersby that encounter the Reader at that particular public site. In the case of a playwright's works, Listeners are invited to read the scene with the Reader. Occasionally Listeners request to read to the Reader and the roles are reversed.

Frequently audience members spend time afterwards sharing with the Reader about their responses to the texts and their own life experiences. They also often indicate an interest in later seeking out the works of the writer for personal reading.

Readings include poems, novels, plays, short stories, essays, speeches, letters as well as lyrics and other popular culture texts.

Guidelines for choosing writers are:

A) They are dead

B) It is their birthday

C) They were known primarily for their writing

Sample locations in Asheville NC: 

Haywood Street near Malaprops bookstore

Near the “Iron” sculpture at Wall Street + Battery Park Avenue

On the corner of N. Lexington Avenue + Walnut Street

Pack Place area sites

Near Wicked Weed + Orange Peel on Biltmore Avenue

In Triangle Park



 Sample locations in New York City:

PL Travers in the Times Square Pedestrian Mall

 EB White near the Carousel in Central Park

Henry David Thoreau in Central Park, near Turtle Pond + the Delacorte Theater

June Jordan uptown at the corner of West 110th Street + Morningside Drive near Morningside Park

Walter Dean Myers at the Bank Street Bookstore near Columbia University

Sara Teasdale in Central Park near Bow Bridge and the Boat Pond.

Alex Haley in Central Park near the North Meadow Recreation Center





PHASE ONE of this project was a research prototype performed in Asheville NC + New York City between June 19 + August 31, 2014. Based on our results, we are seeking further funding for additional performers, sites and related projects.



At-A-Site-Theater "Celebrating the Birthdays of Dead Writers" Summer 2014

Asheville NC + New York City



We are grateful for your donation to support this ongoing project.

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Celebrating Charles Bukowski's birthday till 1:00AM Asheville NC