Cullud Wattah

Cullud Wattah

This show has closed.

The Public Theater presents the world premiere of Cullud Wattah, written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones. Cullud Wattah tickets are available now.

Cullud Wattah is a play centered on three generations of Black women facing the Flint, Michigan water contamination crisis. Marion is a third-generation General Motors employee dealing with layoffs, and her sister, Ainee, is seeking restitution for lead poisoning. The women must confront the toxic relationship between their city and its industry, and what to do now that their contaminated society has sharply limited their family’s options for a flourishing life.

Dickerson-Despenza wrote Cullud Wattah as a 2019-2020 Playwright in Residence at the Public and was meant to debut the play in the same season before the pandemic postponed programming. Cullud Wattah went on to win the 2019 Princess Grace Award and the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, all before the play even made its professional premiere. Cullud Wattah marks Dickerson-Despenza's second collaboration with director Candis C. Jones following the audio play shadow/land, which premiered digitally with the Public in spring 2021.

Performances are staged at the Public's Martinson Theater.

This show has now closed. See our list of theatre tickets for shows currently on sale.

About Cullud Wattah:

Cullud Wattah is a new Afro-surrealist play about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It’s been 936 days since Flint has had clean water. Marion, a third generation General Motors employee, is consumed by layoffs at the engine plant. When her sister, Ainee, seeks justice and restitution for lead poisoning, her plan reveals the toxic entanglements between the city and its most powerful industry, forcing their family to confront the past-present-future cost of survival. As lead seeps into their home and their bodies, corrosive memories and secrets rise among them. Will this family ever be able to filter out the truth? Cullud Wattah blends form and bends time, diving deep into the poisonous choices of the outside world, the contamination within, and how we make the best choices for our families’ future when there are no real, present options.

Erika Dickerson-Despenza
The Public Theater
Candis C. Jones
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Sinan Refik Zafar
Adam Rigg
Kara Harmon
Cast list:
Crystal Dickinson, Lizan Mitchell, Andrea Patterson, Alicia Pilgrim, Lauren F. Walker
Cullud Wattah Performance Dates & Times
Previews from: 
November 2, 2021
Opening date: 
November 17, 2021
December 12, 2021

Performance schedules for all shows are subject to change.

Buy Tickets on TodayTix

Public Theater

425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
Nearest subway station:
Astor Place Station

Latest Cullud Wattah News & Features

Cullud Wattah
'Cullud Wattah' announces complete Off-Broadway casting at The Public Theater
October 18, 2021

The Public Theater has announced complete casting for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s play Cullud Wattah. Performances begin November 2 ahead of a November 17 opening night. The complete cast includes the previously announced Crystal Dickinson as Marion, Lizan Mitchell as Big Ma, Andrea Patterson as Ainee, and Alicia Pilgrim as Plum, alongside the newly announced Lauren F. Walker as Reesee and Ta’Neesha Murphy, Jennean Farmer, and Chavez Ravine as understudies.

Photo credit: Erika Dickerson-Despenza (Photo by Joey Stocks)
Erika Dickerson-Despenza wins 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
April 8, 2021

The winner of the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has been awarded, honoring the writing of female playwrights.

Our Cullud Wattah Review

Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play, Cullud Wattah, is a gut-wrenching, soul-stirring, masterwork of a production and solidifies her influence in American theatre. The play, currently running at The Public Theater, gives formidable context to the devastating effects of the Flint, Michigan water crisis that began — as far as we know — in April 2014.