Faced with crisis, three Philly arts orgs move under one roof

Headlong, Mascher Space Cooperative and Ninth Planet announce innovative partnership program

(Press Release, Aug 25 2020)

“We are in a tumultuous, vulnerable time,” says Headlong’s Managing Director, Gen Ransom, “We can continue to transform to better serve and reflect the community in which we live, but we cannot do it alone.”

Headlong, Mascher Space Cooperative and Ninth Planet are three small arts organizations in Philadelphia’s vibrant experimental arts ecosystem. As the COVID-19 crisis has continued to profoundly alter the live performance sector, each organization has found itself confronting big financial and logistical questions about how to continue in the face of uncertainty.

But as peer organizations tackling unprecedented challenges, this crisis also brought the three groups into conversation—and they are now pleased to announce an exciting initiative to work together: Ninth Planet, Mascher Space Cooperative, and Headlong are joining forces as partners to share Headlong Studios on South Broad Street.

“The partnership between Headlong, Mascher, and Ninth Planet feels like an ideal collaboration—three organizations with shared values and histories,” says Mascher Finance Coordinator Julia Bryck, “This new model can be an example of how the dance and theater industries, both struggling to hold onto space and funding during the health crisis, can pool resources.”

Though currently the studios are now largely inactive as each organization takes a very cautious approach to in-person meetings, this new program aims to allow the three organizations to not just survive the pandemic era, but to create new opportunities for each group to more fully embrace its mission.

Headlong sees welcoming Ninth Planet and Mascher into its Broad Street home as a natural extension of the artist-support programs it has developed since the company’s founding in 1993. Mascher will now be able to focus its energies on building its community of members, with Headlong staff helping to shoulder administrative duties. And Ninth Planet, the fringe-favorite imaginative yet itinerant performance company, will have a permanent homebase for the first time ever.

"Headlong has always felt like our creative home, and as artists who mostly live in South Philly, we see this as an opportunity to grow deeper roots here and really center the communities of South Philly in our work,” says Ninth Planet Co-Artistic Director Sam Tower.

Though all the artists and administrators involved in this project admit they still see struggles ahead, they also see hopeful silver linings. Mascher and Ninth Planet both feature alumni of Headlong Performance Institute. Along with discussions of the practicalities of these trying times, these aligned organizations are also hatching vital plans for the future.

“As a partner of Headlong, we’ll be collaborating on their educational residency program for artists, Headlong Performance Institute, and introducing our own youth-focused education opportunities with the ultimate goal of establishing a pipeline for queer and trans young people of color to enter and succeed in the experimental performance industry,” says Ninth Planet Co-Artistic Director Nia Benjamin.

For more info,

contact Jimmy Grzelak

Director of Programs

jimmy at headlong dot org