Mud/Bone Collective was co-founded in 2001 by alumni of the New York University/Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program and the Juilliard School. The group’s founding mission was to be a professional theater company providing a new kind of theater and arts education for under-served communities in New York City—especially young people of color. From 2001 to 2004, the company produced several classical and contemporary theater productions with multi-racial casts.

In 2004, Mud/Bone moved operations to the South Bronx to focus on producing theater specifically for local school children. The organization also decided to embrace a more expansive multi-arts approach in order to outreach to more local artists and residents. From 2004 to 2008, Mud/Bone offered young people workshops in theater, printmaking, Latin drumming, Shakespeare and spoken word poetry. We worked with approximately 60 NYC Public School students each semester through direct contact in weekly AIE and after school workshops. We also directly served approximately 35 professional theater artists and over 30 printmakers each semester by providing them free weekly workshops, open studio time and printmaking resources at our 500 square-foot storefront space on 889 Hunts Point Avenue. In 2006, Mud/Bone became one the first awardees of the Union Square Award Arts Initiative for innovative grassroots arts programming, receiving $25,000 in general operating support.

During our residence in the South Bronx, Mud/Bone produced several curated exhibitions, theater productions, along with labs and professional development workshops for professional artists from diverse under-represented communities. Some of the highlights include Suzan-Lori Park’s 365 Plays/365 Days, No Hay Olvido—a printmaking exhibition and performance piece inspired by Pablo Neruda, Here To Put My Father in the Ground by playwright-in-residence Oni Faida Lampley, Jackie & The Beanstalk—a South Bronx urban fairytale created by community teens, and Richard 2×8—a work-in-progress using Lecoq-based clown techniques to explore Shakespeare’s Richard II.

In early 2008, Mud/Bone ended its lease at the South Bronx space to prioritize its focus toward producing theater and community development projects through working with under-served communities in New York City.