Manhattan Theatre Club
Program: Access to Arts
Area of Work: Arts
Grant Purpose: Education Program
Over nearly five decades, Manhattan Theatre Club has evolved into a preeminent, non-profit producer of the highest quality, award-winning theatrical productions. The mission of MTC is to produce innovative theater by American and international playwrights, with a focus on presenting New York, American, and world premieres.
MTC encourages excellence by identifying and working with the most talented professionals in every aspect of production. In a typical season, MTC presents a repertoire of eight plays and musicals on three stages, including the historic 650-seat Samuel J. Friedman Theater on Broadway, as well as Stage I (300 seats) and The Studio at Stage II (150 seats) at New York City Center, MTC’s Off-Broadway home.
Purpose: To support MTC Education.
MTC Education was the first education department created by a major theater company in New York City and is a standard of excellence in the field. MTC Education offers several distinct programs across three broad initiatives: Playwriting/Playmaking, Audience Engagement, and Professional Development. Through these programs, MTC Education strives to serve a diverse range of people, particularly young people in communities who have traditionally lacked access to theater.
MTC Education reaches close to 3,000 students and family members annually, the majority of whom are young people attending public high schools and alternative schools around the New York City area.
Signature programs include MTC’s Write on the Edge (WrOTE) residencies enable New York area young people — primarily those enrolled in alternative high schools and programs – to write original plays inspired by themes in MTC productions they have studied and attended. Each residency compromises 10 sessions led by an MTC teaching artist in collaboration with a classroom teacher, with assistance from professional actors; at the culmination, the student-written plays are performed by the actors. WrOTE typically reaches students at about 15 different educational facilities each year.
Write on the Edge empowers participants by enabling them to take control of their own stories and express them on their own terms. According to student evaluations, 93% of the participants report that their understanding of the art and craft of playwriting increased as a result of program activities, and 96% of participants report that seeing their original plays performed by actors was a positive, personally meaningful experience.
MTC Education’s Stargate Theater program hires young men who are overcoming involvement with the justice system to create and perform an original play in an intensive summer employment program. Over the course of two months and under the guidance of a team or artistic professionals, these young men develop their “soft” professional skills — including communication, collaboration, and punctuality — while coming together to share their stories on their own terms and challenge audiences to see them in a new light.