Celebrating 50 Years of Visionary Work by Ping Chong and Our Vital Next Chapter
Today we announce a three-year leadership transition plan to support the next generation of interdisciplinary artists and expand the Company’s long standing Undesirable Elements community specific program. This new vision is supported by $900,000 from the Mellon Foundation, which has provided lead funding for the $1.5 million transition budget.
Our beloved Founder and Artistic Director Ping Chong, and Executive Director Bruce Allardice announce their retirement from PCC at the end of 2022, as the organization looks to transform artistic legacy into practice for the next generation of artists.
PCC Managing Director Jane Jung and Associate Director Sara Zatz, alongside a to-be-announced Artistic Chair, will lead the organization through the strategic transition plan envisioned in collaboration with consulting firm P.S. 314.
The upcoming anniversary season will celebrate Ping Chong’s 50-year career as a leading Asian American artist and theatrical innovator; 30 years of the company’s series of community-specific, interview-based works known as the Undesirable Elements series; and 35 years of artistic partnership between Chong and Allardice.
Ping Chong and Bruce Allardice have worked tirelessly to achieve and hone PCC’s vision of aesthetically rich, socially probing interdisciplinary theater that explores the interconnectedness of cultures and multifaceted identities in the U.S. and across the globe.
Ping Chong says of his retirement from the company, "What better way to carry the future of creating forward than to support the next generation of artists! It’s such a tough time for the young, especially in how prohibitive New York’s cost of living has become, how different the conditions are here than when I was beginning as an artist, and I believe the future belongs to the young people. I will always be an artist, but as I move away from leadership of the company, it’s great to see that we can create a space for them.”
Bruce Allardice says, “I believe that the pandemic, technology and this political moment in New York and the world has had a fundamental structural impact on our artistic community — and what is required to build back for the future is new approaches, new thoughts, new energy. Building new structures that work in our changed world—that’s for the next generation to do, and I want to support that fully. We have wonderful people who work with us, and this is a way to embrace the potential and opportunity of change. Ping and I will be around throughout the three-year transition, but we don’t want to be too around—we don’t want to get in the way of that process.”
Amy Chin, Chair of the Ping Chong and Company Board, says, “Ping Chong and Company has been crossing artistic boundaries for half a century with innovative and pioneering theater that speaks to a global human experience. The Board gratefully honors Ping Chong’s many decades of creativity and the inspired guidance of Bruce Allardice. The legacy of their work continues in the gifted artists and exceptional leaders they have nurtured. As we celebrate this anniversary milestone, we are also excited to lean into the Company’s next 50 years supported by a talented team and the generous support of Mellon Foundation and our PCC friends, family, and fans.”
PCC Managing Director Jane Jung says, “The impact of Ping's singular vision and voice has rippled across so many individuals' lives and communities in powerful ways, fostering connection, compassion, and understanding across differences. Ping and Bruce made great art together. We can't wait to carry forth their legacy with a vision to support the next generation of interdisciplinary artists and their works. We’re grateful to the Mellon Foundation and the partnership of our Board and P.S. 314 who have thoughtfully guided us through this major transition moment, which is an exciting opportunity for growth and evolution.”
PCC Associate Director Sara Zatz says, “As we enter into this period of transition and organizational transformation, we have a unique opportunity to center the voices and vision of a new generation of artists forging their own creative paths. Ping Chong and Company has fostered a space that is a truly welcoming home for artists and that creates room for growth and transformation, learning, and evolution. We are excited to honor Bruce and Ping’s legacies and contributions by continuing to incubate community connectedness, artistic risk-taking, and empathetic storytelling for many years to come.”
Ping and Bruce's long-time colleagues offer reflections on their work, and the company’s impact:
"Ping Chong forged new paths in multidisciplinary artmaking and contemporary theater practice and his work continues to expand our collective understandings of identity, otherness, and being. His lasting legacy is a testament to his expansive vision, deep intellect, and imagination; all attributes that he holds humbly, generously, and honestly," shares Emil Kang, program director for Arts and Culture at the Mellon Foundation. “We are honored to support the next chapter for Ping Chong and Company as they honor the rich legacy of Ping Chong and Bruce Allardice while creating space for a new generation of creators."
Artistic Director of La MaMa Mia Yoo says, “The work of Ping Chong and Bruce Allardice has been transformative for our field. They have helped shape the legacy of La MaMa through the powerful artistry and the urgent community-engaged work we have been blessed to have on our stages. By examining the complexities of delving into Otherness and stories of the Other, ultimately the work has revealed our interconnectedness and shared humanity. Ping Chong and Company has influenced generations of artists, and their impact will reverberate for generations to come.”
Artistic Producer/Founder at The Foundry Theatre Melanie Joseph says, “ART, Appetite, History, Inclusion, Fluidity, Integrity, EXCELLENCE, Respect and GRACE. Words that will ever hold the image of Ping and Bruce TOGETHER, that activated what they made, how they made it and who they shared it with for 50 years. They’re a beacon for anyone who strives to make great art, and then actually makes it. And they’re a rudder for those who seek to build theatres with transparency, experiment and tremendous care, that actually operate and evolve in that way.They were all of this, and then some, for me.I’m so glad that we found one another in this roiling cauldron that is our world, and grateful to have shared reasons to climb out, and get shit done (after a wee pause for a delicious meal.). I love you both, EVER. “
BAM Executive Producer Emeritus Joseph V. Melillo says, “I began working with Ping Chong in 1984 within the context of BAM’s annual Next Wave Festival and subsequently worked with him many times. Ping expanded my conception of what theater could be as a contemporary genre. His visionary and pioneering art has advanced our understanding of storytelling. His resourcefulness is boundless. His art is redolent of original ideas and highly imaginative techniques for delivering the inherent humanity that is the foundation of his creative artistry.”
Melillo adds, “Bruce is a man of sterling integrity. He has consistently demonstrated the exemplary principles of a manager supporting an artist through the vast myriad of challenges throughout the creative process of the development and producing of new work while growing an organization for that artist and his work. He was an exceptional professional partner throughout our working together to get Ping Chong’s art to its desired opening night for the originating artist, his collaborators and performers.”