NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In it’s 18th year, the Ice Factory Summer Festival is once again serving as a breeding ground for up and coming musicians, actors and artists in lower Manhattan.

Hardly one week into their six week run, organizers have been more than pleased with the kick off events.

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“Even though this is our 18th year of Ice Factory, it feels like something brand new,” said director Robert Lyons.

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A highly anticipated event in the New York culture scene, the Ice Factory Summer Festival displays works by emerging and established local companies, as well as national and international groups.

Led by Lyons, the Soho Think Tank’s artistic director, the  intent of the program is to provide a forum for up and comers to develop their craft.

“This year we will be presenting 12 different shows in 6 weeks,” Lyons told CBSNewYork.  “We have a lot of live music in the festival this year.  Four of the six main shows feature live bands.”

The theater festival has garnered prestige throughout the years as a hotbed of new talent. Produced by the Ohio Theatre, a group which formerly resided on Wooster Street before being relocated to 3LD Art & Technology center, the group will open a new space in the West Village this September, to be called Ohio West.

“When we left the Ohio Theatre, our home for 20 years on Wooster Street, I knew if I only did one thing this year it would have to be Ice Factory, to make sure the community knew we were still in business,” Lyons said.

Performances take place Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. at the 3LD Art & Technology Center, 80 Greenwich Street (at Rector Street) in Manhattan. Train access via the 1 or R to Rector Street. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students/seniors and can be purchased online at SohoThinkTank.org or by calling 212-352-3101.

The Ice Factory 2011 Performance Schedule:

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“Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for a Pig”

June 29 – July 2
The English language premiere of this show surrounds Vaclav and his need for a pig at a party with his rebellious friends. Several characters such as an American journalist arrive for an interview. Look for food, drink, song, video, politics and celebration in the theatrical event. Come hungry for this show’s party as pulled pork, Czech beer and live music are included.

“Pontiac Firebird Variations”
July 6 – 9

This new interpretation of Shakespeare’s “Richard III” (Act I, Scene IV) follows an awkward New York crime family. Infused with 80’s pop culture and classic car talk, themes of the origins of desire and murder are laid out as the family pits six potential killers against each other in a series of alternative realities.

“An Impending Sense Of Doom”
July 13 – 16

The appropriated mash-up of pre and post apocalyptic genres questions society’s obsession with “end-of-days” and Armageddon. The show deconstructs fear and fanaticism with a conclusion of its own.

“Three Graces”
July 20 – 23

Narrated by a woman named Three Graces, the operatic show follows several characters in a modern epic, Grecian tale. Thematic inspiration comes from Greek blues and Cretan rebel songs.

“Sometimes in Prague”
July 27 – 30

An encounter between three Americans in a Czech pub provides the forum for this hybrid show. A mix of video, rock music and audience participation, including cake and champagne, make up the experience and questions what it means to love.

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For more information visit SohoThinkTank.org.