For first time, BEAT Festival brings the arts to diverse Sunset community

September 9, 2015 Jaime DeJesus
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Sunset’s got the BEAT.

For the first time, the annual Brooklyn Emerging Artists in Theater (BEAT) Festival is bringing the arts to the neighborhood in an attempt to reach out to the diverse community.

For two days, Friday, September 18 and Saturday, September 19, the BEAT festival will present Ocaso: A Performance Adventure in Industry City’s Manufacture New York. The event plans to honor the neighborhood’s growing Latin and Chinese cultures.

Stephen Shelley, the artistic director for the festival who was instrumental in conceiving the Sunset Park event, is happy to include the community as part of its growing and popular week of events.

“The show is designed from the standpoint of creating an event that reflects Sunset Park,” he said. “It’s a very diverse place and a big community so we can’t do everything. Within the confines of the program, we will feature three different acts that highlight the diversity and unique talents from within the community.”

Among those talents will be Chinese Theatre Works, Dhira Rauch, Brooklyn’s Finest Dance Company and Paul Tafoya.

“In terms of New York City, they are a leading Chinese performance group and very active promoting and presenting the authentic performance arts from China,” Shelley said of Chinese Theatre Works.  “It was an obvious choice to help connect the community with the Chinese community and it will be held at a contemporary theater.”

He added that the salsa group performing is Sunset Park-based.

Although the BEAT Festival held a program at Green-Wood Cemetery last year, this is the first true Sunset event. “This is the clearest Sunset event. This year’s festivities are really our first effort to create performance to bring together the community in Sunset Park,” he said.

Despite it being the first time, Shelley expects the two days to generate a lot of excitement and stresses the importance of its success. “We need to have a diverse audience. What we really trying to do now, and this is a big effort, is connect more deeply with the Latin and Chinese communities and getting the word out to Sunset,” he said. “We are blazing a new path in that regard. We are confident lots of folks will come to the show that represents Sunset as a whole.”

The events for both nights will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Manufacture New York, 850 Third Avenue. Tickets are $20. For more information on the BEAT Festival, visit

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