As prohibition ends and organized crime returns to gambling, Queenie St. Clair - a fiery madame from Martinique - is forced to defend Harlem's booming "numbers game" against the brutal invasion of sociopathic gangster Dutch Schultz.

The Pulp Collective formed in 2015 to create The Numbers Game, an episodic series of six one-act plays to be co-produced with the Storefront Arts Initiative in the fall of 2016. An ambitious project bringing together seven playwrights in a TV-style writers’ room, The Numbers Game tells an epic story of 1930’s gangland warfare, pitting fiery Harlem madam Stephanie “Queenie” St. Clair against the brutal gangster Dutch Schultz for control of the Harlem numbers racket. 

Our Story

The way we consume stories is constantly changing, and theatre should be as much a part of that as any form of popular entertainment. At The Pulp Collective, we believe that live performance is a uniquely engaging storytelling experience. We want to revolutionize how artists create and audiences consume theatre. 

The streaming structure of online TV shows has allowed in recent years for a depth of engagement unseen since the novel. The use of an extended story line, told over multiple episodes, provides playwrights with a larger, longer canvas on which to paint. Just as theatre has adapted to new technology and shortening attention spans, it should incorporate the new creative structures that are already part of our daily lives.

The scintillating story chosen for this episodic system is the fight for the Harlem numbers game: a post-prohibition battle between two warring ethnic factions; an extraordinary tale of greed, capitalism, and morality; a close picture of the racial tensions that thrived in the 1930’s and still simmer today


Photo: Fraser Elsdon