Our name, Mare Nostrum, signifies a common element that connects people. The choice of this Latin name, Mare (“the sea”) Nostrum (“our”), was inspired by the use of this term during the Roman Empire to refer to the Mediterranean Sea—a region that encompassed many different nationalities and cultures.
On May 18, 2001 a work-in-progress of Mediterranean Voices was performed with a 15-member orchestra during the NYU Music Department Composer’s Forum Series, and the MNE performance group was born. With only 10 rehearsals, the challenge of coordinating an 18-member cast and 12 musicians on stage, Nicola and Kevin realized the path to success was to hold workshop-style rehearsals that guided individual performers in developing personal, emotionally driven characters. The approach was so well received by performers and audience that the experience confirmed for Nicola and Kevin that their multidisciplinary experiment had worked. Since then, the performance group went on to present original work at La MaMa ETC, Here Arts Center, the Roccella Jazz Festival in Italy, and many other venues.
Nicola and Kevin gathered tools and knowledge from this collaboration and their training and performance careers and created The Wave Within! Movement Theater training to provide working performers, students, and young adults with more comprehensive performance tools. Since 2002, The Wave Within! workshops and intensives have been offered at schools and festivals throughout New York and Italy.
To support emerging artists, the group established MNE Presents—The Production Company in 2007, beginning by transforming a children’s book by Irene “Tiger” Clark into an interactive play for young audiences. In 2008, MNE produced a highly acclaimed Off-Broadway production in collaboration with The Schoolhouse Theater—Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, following this success in 2009 with S. N. Behrman’s Biography (in partnership with The Schoolhouse Theater and Theater 808); and in 2010 with the NY debut season of the Caterina Ogar Dance Company.
After operating through a fiscal sponsorship with the Field, MNE became a 501(c)3 not-for-profit charitable organization in 2009.