Commenced in 2007 and composed of 10 actors from around the world, Open Program is under the guidance of the Associated Director of the Workcenter, Mario Biagini. The Program functions as a doorway to the outside world, meaning that in its daily practice the team facilitates a kind of shuttling between the inner aspects of the Workcenter's research and greater society. In this sense, Open Program aims to re-discover the very nucleus of theatre: the moment of meaningful contact between human beings in a performative context, which evolves with many of the same artists working together for many years at a time.
The Hidden Sayings, a new work by the Open Program, Directed by Mario Biagini, presented in the form of an etude, is a creative exploration of the interaction between songs from the south of the United States, which belong to the slave tradition, and texts related to early Christianity, mainly translated from Coptic and coming from the region embracing Egypt, the Middle East and Greece.
The liturgical songs of the black tradition have qualities that open the possibility for rediscovering paths of transformation and contact. The Hidden Sayings interrogates these texts and songs. What can be the possibilities and function of the songs and texts, for us today, both sources of which, in distinct anddisparate ways, are at the very roots of the culture in which we live? What can be for us the nature of the processes that they stir and the sense of the energies, meanings and event(s) to which they give birth? How can thequalities of such processes circulate and reach the people around us?
The Open Choir is an exploration of what we consider a forgotten art form, which allows for fluid and active participation by all who attend. It is a free, open event that questions our assumptions about community, belonging, identity, diversity, culture and performance. This original, non-sectarian dynamic meeting of people through songs of the African diaspora, carefully led by a trained, core group of artists, allows people to come in contact with each other and to reconnect with themselves through songs, dance, and interaction within a participatory, performative context. Participants, coming from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, become co-authors of an artwork, opening the possibility of a shared space beyond cultural and linguistic borders which catalyzes meaningful recognition and interaction.
Considered one of the most important and influential theatre practitioners of the 20th century, Jerzy Grotowski revolutionized contemporary theatre in multiple ways. Grotowski changed the way Western theatre practitioners and performance theorists conceive of the audience-actor relationship, theatre staging and the craft of acting. Perhaps best known for his notion of ‘poor theatre,’ Grotowski’s practice extends beyond the confines of conventional theatre assuming a long-term, exploration of the possibilities of the human being in a performance context.

Welcome To The Andrew Freedman Complex

"We want to create a healthy and nurturing space where the community comes together to learn and grow, develop and train...A place where art and culture converge, the talents and dreams of our visitors are nurtured and the possibilities unleashed.  We're all about building vibrant, sustainable programs and projects that transform our neighborhoods!"

Jeanette Puryear, President & CEO - MBSCC and the Andrew Freedman

“….Mr. Freedman saw and meant to meet with his beneficence the need of a neglected, and too often overlooked class of persons whose prosperous past, whether due to inheritance, good fortune, or individual effort, made it emotionally difficult for them to face dire reduced circumstances brought by “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” to the caustic comments that this Home stood withdrawn within the sacred enclosure of its well-appointed grounds as a symbol of ostentation and callous indifference to the multitudes of allegedly low-born needy”. -Quote from Mr. Charles Henry Wenhold (1949)

Long History as a Luxurious Home for the Elderly

The Renaissance Palazzo styled Andrew Freedman functioned as a beautiful respite for the elderly for 59 years where couples and seniors lived out their twilight years in delightful charm and elegance. Delicious meals served in the grand ballroom, card games in the drawing room, afternoon tea in the garden, reclining with a classic novel in the Freedman's exquisite library, these were all semblance of the luxe life of the building's residents during its hey day.

Family Preservation Center Created

In 1995 MBSCC created the Family Preservation Center, located on the lower level of the Andrew Freedman. The Center, born out of an initiative of former New York Governor, Mario Cuomo, is a "safety net" of community services and referrals. 

Mid-Bronx Acquires the Andrew Freedman

From 1985-2007, MBSCC sponsored and managed an Adult Residential Facility at the Andrew Freedman. At its peak, 130 seniors lived here until escalating costs forced the Home to close, but the Andrew Freedman continued to be used for other community focused projects.


The Andrew Freedman Receives Landmark Status

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission granted the majestic Andrew Freedman landmark status in 1993. The building has been continuously maintained since its construction in the early 1920s. 

A New Vision for the Andrew Freedman - A Complex of Initiatives

The Andrew Freedman is expanding into a new and exciting destination for art, culture, learning and creativity. There is a revitalizing vision for the opulent space, where multiple initiatives are being launched to further engage the community and cement Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council's role as a relevant social force.

"We are committed to creating a fresh vision for the Andrew Freedman as a destination for artistic and cultural exchange, a hub of learning and creativity that engages our community by bringing exciting, interactive programs to the people of the Bronx," says Jeanette Puryear, President & CEO of MBSCC. "Our aim is to maintain an open and welcoming space for all community residents. We will continue to provide much needed social services, while incorporating innovative, artistic programming into our event schedule. Local artists can work along side established artists. Young people can learn about media arts and 'going green'; adults can become well trained in a variety of high growth industries, learn how to develop small businesses and continue their education," Puryear adds.