‘Downtown Stories’ brings live theater and walking tours inspired by local businesses to Lower Manhattan

downtown stories

Sponsored by Downtown Alliance

Often, the best art involves sourcing inspiration from places you wouldn’t expect. That’s certainly the case for the artists behind “Downtown Stories: Dreams from New York’s Oldest Streets,” a month-long series of performances inspired by the people and places of Lower Manhattan.

A collaboration between nonprofit theater group En Garde Arts and the Alliance for Downtown New York, “Downtown Stories” runs Wednesdays through Saturdays from June 8-25. The series features a nightly documentary theater piece inspired by interviews with real Lower Manhattan business owners and two daily fictional walking tours that combine the area’s rich history with imaginative storylines.

The documentary theater piece comes from award-winning playwright Rogelio Martinez (“Born In East Berlin”) and director Johanna McKeon (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “American Idiot”) and invites the audience into the world of Lower Manhattan’s independent business owners. Together they journey into the remarkable choices that everyday people must make to reinvent their circumstances, and in turn themselves, against all odds.

One walking tour, by playwright Mona Mansour (“Vagrant Trilogy,” Public Theatre) and co-conceived and directed by Jessica Holt (“Ironbound,” “Sense and Sensibility”), follows the unlikely path taken by a Hamilton! walking tour guide who chooses to explore the lesser known world of Downtown.

The second walking tour comes from playwright Eric Lockley (co-founder Movement Theatre Company) and director Morgan Green (co-artistic director, Wilma Theatre). It uses unexpected ghost stories to examine how agents of change have always been the foundation of this city and for the people who inhabit it.

Advance tickets will be available May 4 at engardearts.org/downtown-stories/. You can also find times and locations on the website.