Elephant Run District is an NYC-based indie theater and media company devoted to developing the work of a core group of artists, challenging expectations, engaging our audiences, inspiring dialogue in the communities we serve, and creating long-lasting memories. ERD seeks to entertain its audiences while addressing issues that affect our society. The District is a place where traditions collide and new possibilities are explored in the hunt to create stories that are ultimately human.
The company gets its name after the time when founding members Aimee Todoroff and Chris Harcum first met on a chilly Monday around midnight in 2010. This happened to be the final time the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ran their elephants across 34th Street to get them to Madison Square Garden. People cheered the elephants while others protested the cruelty. There were cops shouting, sirens blaring, clowns cheerily waving on tall bikes, horses majestically trotting, and stilt walkers gliding above the crowd. The elephants zipped by much faster than you might imagine. It was exciting and unexpected, just like how we feel good theater should be.
Like any community, Elephant Run District is in a constant state of evolution, becoming more diverse and exciting as collaborators move in, set up shop and offer their creative wares to the world. Established in late 2010, ERD has produced several full-length plays and various smaller projects.
Our first production in Feb. 2011, Green, was hailed “a highlight of the theatrical season” by Martin Denton and has since been published on Indie Theater Now. This was followed by We Haven’t Told Anyone About This, a modern tragedy touching on the Bernie Madoff scandal. Next, Rabbit Island, garnered rave reviews and was selected for an extension as an outstanding production of the 2012 Frigid Festival. In 2013, ERD started the globally-recognized Brecht in the Park series and took American Gun Show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it received 5-star reviews and audience attention.
In 2012 and 2013, ERD produced 10 Stampede Labs at the Living Theatre and the Chain Theatre to cross-pollinate New York’s indie theater territory and pay homage to Off Off’s history. 25 indie theater companies and more than 100 artists shared their work through this unique theatrical experience. In 2014 and 2015, ERD focused on staged readings and other development. In 2016, ERD’s production of Siobhan O’Loughlin’s Broken Bone Bathtub received the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and we started the hERD Play Podcast. In 2017, ERD is producing Martin Denton, Martin Denton, a new play based on the life and work of the title character.
Elephant Run District is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization and is also a proud member of the League of Independent Theater and enthusiastically supports the League’s initiatives.