What happens when you go in search of your legacy only to find it was stolen by an insidious plague? While rehearsing one of the greatest stage. dramas ever written, a group of acting students confronts firsthand how the theater community courageously battled the scourge of AIDS.
Ghost Lights: Reclaiming Theater in the Age of AIDS, an eight-part television docuseries, explores the impact of the AIDS crisis on the theater industry and its vibrant community, navigating the toll the disease took during the last two decades of the 20th century. It spotlights some of the 1,000+ theater artists felled by AIDS, sharing their lives and work, and inspiring new generations or artists and theater lovers.
AIDS not only robbed us of many talented individuals, but it decimated our culture – theater being one of those hardest hit. Because its actors, dancers, directors and writers worked in an ephemeral medium that was pre-internet, social media and a camera-on-every-phone, their primary creative output was rarely captured and preserved. Countless audiences have lost lifetimes of amazing work; surviving and emerging artists have lost mentors, guidance, inspiration – and so much more.
Featuring interviews with over 150 theater artists, memorable archival footage, and new stagings of works thought to have vanished forever, all while introducing the next wave to their absent mentors, Ghost Lights endeavors to restore a legacy lost, and celebrates the lives and work of those who were ripped from us much too soon.
“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time” – Banksy
Kieran Turner (Producer/Director): Through his company Eight Track Tape Productions, Turner has produced and directed the acclaimed documentary feature Jobriath A.D., which chronicles the life of ‘70s glam rock musician Jobriath. The award-winning film was released theatrically in2014 by Factory 25. He created and produced the online television show Wallflowers, which ran for two seasons on the Broadway-based network Stage17 and can now be seen on the new streaming channel Dekkoo. During his eight years with the company Cinemarket, Turner has worked on the financing and/or marketing of such films as W., Terminator Salvation, Love & Mercy, From the Rough, Very Good Girls, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, and Bitter Harvest. Turner attended NYU, receiving both a BFA and MFA in filmmaking from the Tisch School of the Arts. His first feature film, 24 Nights, which he wrote, produced and directed, was made as his graduate thesis, but took on a life of its own on the film festival circuit before being picked up for distribution by TLA Releasing in 2001. He is currently in development on the feature film adaptation of the cult novel Black Dogs, a fictionalized account of the 1973 Led Zeppelin box office heist.
Christianne Tisdale (Producer): Christianne produced the online tv show Wallflowers, which ran for two seasons on Stage17 and now streams on Dekkoo. In the aftermath of 9/11, she produced, arranged and performed the debut album, Just a Map—A Lullaby to the World (“every song is a gem.”—The Detroit News; #1 Irish Children’s Music Chart), donating a portion of the proceeds to Women for Women International. Tisdale recently created and executed a series of sold-out, interactive Broadway experiences for Mastercard. An acclaimed Broadway performer, Christianne has been an integral part of the NY arts community since the late 80s. She starred in Beauty and the Beast, and originated the companies of Triumph of Love, On A Clear Day (Revisal), Les Miserables (25th Anniversary), Titanic (1st National), Sousatzka(Toronto), and One Touch of Venus (Opera North/Sadler’s Wells) as both a team member and group leader. This allows her access to the very talent pool on the frontlines of the AIDS epidemic who’ll help bring Ghost Lights to life. Christianne has served impactful charitable organizations as a board member, employee and fundraiser, and is an effective community activist in Upper Manhattan. She is a published author (Elephant Journal) and her writing has been presented in U.S. District Court. Graduate of Yale College, with Distinction.