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City of Trash Live

Grand Pistachio is developing a series of theatrical experiences (live performance, installation, recorded episodes, workshops, and theatrical celebrations) for young audiences called City of Trash, that makes visible the invisible work of sanitation, honoring sanitation professionals who keep society healthy and safe.  These experiences will help young people expand their trash consciousness by exploring the benefits and dangers of waste management, the cultural secrets trash reveals, and the lacking environmental justice of sanitation.


The show takes place at the closed Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island.  At the landfill a resident garbologist does a dig and pulls out trashed objects from the 1950’s, 1970’s and 2001.  Each item represents a story that is told with puppetry: (1) a sanitation worker in 1971 who loves to find treasures in the trash and uses this hobby to cope with his son being drafted to Vietnam (2) Two friends who join the Department of Sanitation in 2001 and are soon faced with cleanup of 9/11.  (3) The third story is to be determined. 


Ages:  7 and up


Grades:  2nd & up

Development Process

To develop City of Trash, the company has been collaborating with Hudson Hall and Brooklyn Public Library to share work in progress showings.  Additionally they have created Trash Camp, a free summer youth experience, where young people experienced all things trash from field trips to art projects.  Artists were also able to make a variety of important research connections and determine what topics were of interest to the young people.


The show will work with venues' local communities to create trash filled experiences that complement and extend the experience of viewing the live performance. 

About The Company

Grand Pistachio (Rachel Sullivan and Liz Parker) After collaborating for over 10 years Rachel Sullivan and Liz Parker formed Grand Pistachio, a company that creates original theater with puppets for young people and other inquisitive souls. Infusing their work with a sense of wonder, Rachel and Liz choose topics that inspire their own curiosity and imagination.  The pair has a signature two-person performance style that utilizes highly theatrical forms of performance including puppetry mask and music to transport and engage audiences.  

The duo first began creating for family audiences with Urban Stages’ outreach department, performing regularly at over 80 NYC public libraries.  In 2011, their show Blown Away by Poetry was performed at the New York International Fringe Festival after which it toured to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Bushwick Starr, Poet's House and numerous other NYC venues.  In the 2015-2016 season, Rachel and Liz were selected for The New Victory Theater's prestigious LabWorks program where they began development of Layer the Walls.  The Jim Henson Foundation selected Layer the Walls for a family grant in 2017.  

Liz and Rachel both hold an MA in Applied Theater from CUNY/SPS and have extensive experience as teaching artists and directors of devised work with various populations. Rachel co-founded Honest Accomplice Theatre which brings original pieces of theater and media to college campuses and local theaters to begin conversations about gender. Her work with Honest Accomplice has been supported by The Ford Foundation and is utilized The New York City Commission on Human Rights. Liz has worked for Lincoln Center Theater, The New Victory Theater, The Museum of the City of New York, The Child Abuse Prevention Program, New York City Children's Theater, viBe Theater Experience, and Young Audiences New York.

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