Okwui Okpokwasili

Poor People’s TV Room
Dec 6 - 9, 2018

Get tickets Merrill Theater

Thu, Dec 6, 8 pm
Fri, Dec 7, 8 pm
Sat, Dec 8, 8 pm
Sun, Dec 9, 5 pm

Capacity: 300


General admission
$26 advance
$30 week of
$70 covers the average, per-ticket cost of staging a production at On the Boards

Discounted tickets
Under 25: $12 advance or $15 week of 
Seniors 65+: $23 advance or $25 week of 
TeenTix member: $5 

Sliding Scale Tickets
Tickets can be purchased on a sliding scale ($10-$70) for the Sun, Dec 9, 5 pm show

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Okwui Okpokwasili is an Igbo-Nigerian American artist, performer, choreographer, and writer. Her multidisciplinary performances draw upon her training in theater, and operate at the intersection of theater, dance, and visual installations. 

Poor People’s TV Room explores two historical incidents: the Women’s War of 1929, a resistance movement against British colonial powers, and the Boko Haram kidnappings of more than 300 girls in 2014, and its connection to the Bring Back Our Girls movement. The performance is concerned with how to recover buried histories, particularly of movements of resistance and collective action in Nigeria, as well as examining gender, culture, and identity. Okpokwasili performs with three women, each from different generations. The result is a narrative by brown women contending with the meaning of their bodies in relation to each other—a potent reflection of the effects the erasure of women’s histories has on contemporary societies today.

View Peter Born and Okwui Opokwasili's Bronx Gothic on OntheBoards.tv

“In 2014, I saw Okpokwasili in her piece Bronx Gothic, and the top of my head blew off.”
—Hilton Als, The New Yorker


“Okpokwasili...can’t tame her magnificence... She’s a force.”
— Gia Kourlas, the New York Times

Okpokwasili speaks with ICA Boston:

interview with Okwui Okpokwasili


Related Programs

Thu, Dec 6: Studio Supper
Our Studio Suppers series brings art lovers together for a fantastic family-style, pre-show dinner prepared by one of Seattle's finest chefs. Learn more

Fri, Dec 7, 7:15 pm: OtB Teen Night!
We are partnering with TeenTix to offer a special event for all our teen art lovers! Tickets for the 8pm show are $5 for any teen 13 -18. There will also be a special pre-show reception with FREE mini-cupcakes, beverages, and a soundtrack to set the scene for the evening. Stick around after the performance for a talkback with the artist herself. Learn more

Sat, Dec 8, 3 pm: Lecture
Fusebox Festival curators Betelhem Makonnen & Anna Gallagher-Ross will deliver a guest lecture about their work. Learn more

Sun, Dec 9, 5 pm: Childcare available for this performance
Sweet Pea Cottage School of the Arts will be leading an arts workshop titled 'A Portrait of Me' just for kids ages 2-10. Learn more  |  Get tickets


About the Artist

Okwui Okpokwasili is a New York-based writer, performer, and choreographer. In partnership with collaborator Peter Born, Okpokwasili creates multidisciplinary projects, including Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance and Bronx Gothic, which won a 2014 New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. Okpokwasili‘s residencies and awards include the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Choreographic Fellowship (2012), Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist-in-Residence (2013), New York Live Arts Studio Series (2013), New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship in Choreography (2013), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Program (2014–2015), The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ Grants to Artists in Dance (2014), and the Rauschenberg Residency (2015). She is a 2018 USA award grantee and will be a Hodder Fellow at Princeton in 2018–2019.


Poor People’s TV Room was produced by MAPP International Productions in association with New York Live Arts, with lead support from New York Live Arts Resident Commission Artist program. It has been commissioned by the American Dance Institute and the Walker Art Center. Poor People’s TV Room is a project of Creative Capital. It has received funding from The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Poor People’s TV Room was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was also received from the Ken and Judith Joy Family Foundation. It is supported by developmental residencies at The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL; Brooklyn Creative Arts LAB (BRIC); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Denniston Hill Residency; Times Square Alliance Artists in Residence; “Alternative Spring Break: NYC Performing Arts” at Columbia; and 92Y in New York; The Rauschenberg Residency (Robert Rauschenberg Foundation) on Captiva Island, FL; and Wesleyan University in Middlebury, CT. An early work-in-progress iteration of Poor People’s TV Room was presented by Lincoln Center in the David Rubinstein Atrium in June 2014.