What is Blended City?
Blended City is a multicultural, multidisciplinary, entertainment company that serves underserved and underrepresented communities through storytelling and art that actively creates a safe space to workshop, showcase, and execute focal productions through a collaborative community in NYC. Whether it be race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, social class, etc. as a production company we want to be as inclusive as possible meaning any story being told can be told by anyone for anyone.
Ashley and Nick met in 2012 in an acting class at the Barrow Group Theater Company and instantly connected. Throughout the years they gained experience in acting, writing, directing and even producing. In the Spring of 2017 the play Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alergia Hudes was brought to the stage at the Producers Club in NYC where Nick and Ashley were both main characters and Nick was the producer while Ashley was the assistant producer. The success of Water by the Spoonful exceeded everyone’s expectations. Afterward, Nick and Ashley decided that together they could make many more successes like Water by the Spoonful with other projects and so, Blended City was established on June 23rd, 2017.
Blended City was created for several reasons. One main reason was to give opportunities to Nick and Ashley in the industry, both of whom are Puerto Rican and raised in NYC; Ashley from the Bronx and Nick from Brooklyn. Living in poverty, growing up without a means to an end, watching everyone around not living to their full potential made way for Nick and Ashley to create Blended City, so they may have access to opportunities they didn’t have before. Also, to give opportunities to others that may not know they have while trying to pursue a career in this industry. Another reason
Blended City was created was to give a platform to individuals who are different and unique; whether you are from India and want to bring forth a Bollywood themed play to the stage or from Brazil and want to film a documentary in the streets of Queens, we want to share these stories for the world to see. The industry sometimes doesn’t allow people who are different to shine and tell their stories, but at Blended City we encourage it and we want different stories to be told, heard and seen. Lastly, we want to be the production company that breaks barriers. Blended City is a company that makes films and plays which most production companies are either entirely film based or stage based. With Ashley and Nicks experiences they are pushing boundaries and exceeding the “norm”. Essentially, building a sense of community, safe space and a team is important during this journey and that’s what Blended City is all about.
Born & raised in NYC, Nick is a gay Latinx individual who recently graduated from CUNY Baruch College completing his master's in Arts Administration. His love for the arts as a producer, actor, and creator has propelled him to dedicating, sharing, and creatively collaborating with everyone he meets. By actively finding ways to support bringing people together through art and storytelling, we can better understand each other as humans with the experiences, the culture, and the life we live. Art is powerful, Art is healing, Art is everywhere and with pure intentional energy of wanting to step out of yourself is what’s going to bring all of us closer together now and for future generations. This all may not happen overnight, who knows, but it's a step in the right direction to make happen. We are in a time where cultural exchanges are necessary in whichever art discipline you are in. This is how we can obtain a more progressive and connected society which makes this work super important to Nick. His recent credits are, a creative collaboration on Wild Culture: An Artistic Exchange with Pipeline Theater Company & the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, produced the 2021 Online Theater Festival at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and performed as Prospero in Rough Magic by Roberto Aguirre Sacasa directed by Ashley L. Calderon. Follow Nick's journey and his work on Facebook, Instagram, and Clubhouse @mr.nickluis.
Ashley is from the Bronx, New York. A Nuyorican taking this industry by storm with directing and writing credits under her belt. Including directing ‘Rough Magic’ by Roberto Aguirre Sacasa, Nuyorican’s first Zoom production this year, and writing and directing ‘Dirt is Where Flowers Grow’ that debuted at the Teatro La Tea performance space in 2017. She also recently won first place at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe 2021 Theatre Festival for her short play 'Papi' that will have a live encore performance in the fall. She’s so excited to take on this project and work with new actors and fellow panelists.