Loading Events

The Making of BOY PROJECT

Nell Bang-Jensen

September 15-September 19

2020 Fringe Festival

75 minutes



ASL Interpretation

What does it mean to be a man in 2020? Over the past year acclaimed local director Nell Bang-Jensen has brought together Philadelphia teens aged 12–15 to imagine their futures in an era where gender is fluid and masculinity is being re-examined. Supported by a professional team of theater artists and designers, youth from a variety of backgrounds have been developing a playful and revelatory new work, the culmination of months of outreach, story circles, and workshops.

Join Bang-Jensen and the creative team, including the teens, for a participatory discussion that considers how gender is manifesting in our behavior now. Reflecting on the development process of this work, each session will begin with a screening of a short documentary by Tommy Butler about the project and continue with story circles in Breakout Rooms to explore with a new generation how gender can be expressed in a way that privileges vulnerability and the full range of human emotions. Excerpts from a work-in-progress presentation of BOY PROJECT will also be accessible on the FringeArts website throughout the Fringe Festival.

There will be ASL Interpretation for the discussion on Saturday, Sept 19.

Director/Creator: Nell Bang-Jensen Assistant Director: Alison Ormsby Core Creators (Adults): Matthew Armstead, Johanna Kasimow, Eva Steinmetz and Brad Wrenn

Core Creators (Young Folks): Isaac Baker Evens, William Batista, Elias Brix, Damon Core, Ziyad Eldafrawy, Reda Haidarah, Simon Kiley, Isaiah Shuchman, Jaiden Shuchman, Jesse Simonet and Naeem Stroud Sound Designer/Composer: Dante Green Set Designer: Maiko Matsushima Production Manager: Mel Leeds Stage Manager: Sara Marinich Lighting Designer: Andrew Thompson Technical Director: Peter Smith Costume Designer: Jill Keys Videographer: Tommy Butler


Discussion and Story Circle: Tuesday, Sept 15 at 7pm

Discussion and Story Circle: Saturday, Sept 19 at 1pm Additional content available on YouTube


Free with RSVP

About Nell Bang-Jensen

Nell Bang-Jensen has been making theater in Philadelphia for the past ten years and is the newly appointed Artistic Director of Theatre Horizon. She has created four full-scale original works, in addition to producing and directing for many of Philadelphia’s major theater institutions including FringeArts, Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Wilma, Pig Iron, and the Painted Bride.  Nell has served as Associate Artistic Director of Pig Iron Theatre Company and on the artistic staff of the Wilma Theater. Her passion for making art outside of the usual theatrical circles guides much of her original work. THE CAREGIVERS premiered at Pig Iron last year and was made with Philadelphians who work as home health aides and hospice workers. Her upcoming BOY PROJECT, a play made with 12-15 year old boys about masculinity, is being produced by FringeArts as part of the High Pressure Fire Service Festival and was awarded a 2019 National MAP Fund grant.   Nell is the recipient of a Next Stage Director’s Fellowship from the Drama League (2019), a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship (2011-2012), and a participant in Theatre Communication Group’s  Leadership U: One-on-One program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications group; a national fellowship given to eight individuals who TCG believes are the core and future of theater.   In October 2018, American Theatre magazine named her one of six “theatre workers to know” across the nation.  Nell is also a Co-Founder of HATCH, an arts residency in Harrisville, New Hampshire that provides female-identifying and non-binary artists with  time and space to create new theater.  A graduate of Swarthmore College, Nell is also passionate about Education and is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Arts.   

Contextual Programming

FringeArts is thrilled to include artists originally slated to present new works in our High Pressure Fire Service Festival this spring within the Fringe Festival this year. These artists were all faced with the unexpected consequences of COVID-19 that hit in the midst of rehearsal processes and just weeks away from premieres. In its wake there has been a complicated loss and grappling with how, why, and in what way to continue making work. Each artist has approached the opportunity to present work this fall differently–some crafting completely new pieces, others adapting materials and processes from their original plans for the spring–and all of them have crafted experiences that are timely, relevant, and poignant in the continued space of the pandemic. We are inspired by the ways these artists have adapted and continue to remind us of the importance of art as a means to contend with, reflect upon, and move through the world together. We hope you’ll engage with their work throughout the Fringe Festival and join us for a conversation with the cohort on Sunday, October 4 to talk about their unexpected transition, how they are grappling with the grief, and how they envision the future.

Check out the Digital Toolkit for the Making of BOY PROJECT for sources of inspiration to Nell Bang-Jensen and her team in the making of this piece.


BOY PROJECT is a 2019 MAP Fund grantee, and was developed through the Camp Fringe residency supported by Independence Foundation. This work is also presented through the SPARK Series made possible by a leadership gift from the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Arts Education Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.

BOY PROJECT is supported by The Philadelphia Foundation’s Aurora’s Fund and Associate Producer, Michael Coleman with special thanks to: Charlie Hersh, Cara Blouin, Michelle Hong, Andrew Cheever, Justin Rose, Terry Guerin, Michelle Chaplin, Mary Beth Doyle, Scott Sheppard, Bree Bang-Jensen, Valerie and Lars Bang-Jensen, Hanna Caldwell, Amelia Zirin-Brown, Barbara Klock, Nancy Lanham, Nathan Hewitt, Lolya Lipchitz and Harold Kasimow, Lisa Kasimow, Edward Fischer, Sophie Kasimow and Leonard Haas.

Festival Co-Producers: Shelley Green & Michael Golden; Nancy Lanham

Related Event

High Pressure Fire Service Talk

FringeArts Artistic Producers & 2020 HPFS Artists
Digital Fringe, Theater,

Sunday, October 4


2020 Fringe Festival

Be Part of the Story

Help FringeArts present world-class, contemporary performing arts that challenge convention and inspire new ways of thinking.

This event has passed