Event Details
  • Town Hall Open Discussion (please specify live or virtual ticket)
    July 27, 2023
    6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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Town Hall (live): How Theater Companies Are Adapting to a Post-Shutdown World

Thursday, July 27th - networking at 6:30 pm, open forum starts at 7:00pm ET
Polaris North Theatre, 245 W. 29th Street, 4th floor, NYC

Our return to our live monthly panels/discussions, with a simultaneous streaming for our friends outside of New York City. (Everyone should receive the zoom link when you register. If you don't receive it, email TRUnltd@aol.com to request link.)

Co-hosted by Rose-Marie Brandwein, president of Polaris North, a membership cooperative of Actors, Playwrights and Directors; Magaly Colimon-Christopher, founding producing artistic director of Conch Shell Productions; Ariel Estrada, founder, producing artistic director of Leviathan Lab; Lorca Peress, founding artistic director of MultiStages; Rusty Thelin & Molly Rice, co-artistic directors of Realtime Interventions; Alex Roe, producing artistic director of Metropolitan Playhouse; Cynthia Stephens, executive director of Sacred Ground Productions. Moderated by Bob Ost of TRU.

As part of a multi-tiered initiative to help restore the theater community in New York and beyond, TRU is inviting small to medium-sized producing companies to join us in a series of honest conversation about the struggle to reopen. In 2021, a virtual meeting generated some specific concerns, including the need to find out what audiences required to return to theater. We hosted a hybrid live-plus-streamed Town Hall last November to further consider what still needs to happen now that protocols are relaxed and policies are changing from venue to venue. This time we will focus on the changes wrought on producing companies by shutdown. Have audiences returned? What are some successful strategies companies are using to rebuild their audiences? Do we need to rethink ticket pricing both within the not-for-profit and the less accessible commercial Broadway world? Might partnerships with commercial theater be useful? Are we taking the lessons of virtual into our future?

Companies are encouraged to talk about the impact of shutdown and their plans for or experience with already reopening, with a particular focus on finding solutions to any obstacles holding them back. TRU offers this as an opportunity for companies to learn from and find ways to help each other while exploring programs that might better serve producing companies. Though the focus will be on not-for-profit and fiscally sponsored companies, all companies struggling to return to live performance are welcome to participate in this conversation.

Doors open at 6:30pm for networking and roundtable introductions of everyone in the room ‚Äď come prepared with your best 20-second summary of who you are, and what you need. The Open Forum will start at 7:00pm. Free for TRU members and not-for-profit theater companies; $15 for non-members. Please use the bright red reservation box here on our web page, or email or phone at least a day in advance (or much sooner): e-mail TRUStaff1@gmail.com / phone 833-506-5550


    studied with playwrights Larry Carr, Jack Gelber, Walter Hadler, Dick Longchamps and David Scott Milton; with directors Andrew Leynse and Tyler Marchant at Primary Stages. She was a member of the long-defunct Roundabout Conservatory Theatre’s Playwriting Unit and HB Studio. Her one- act, Expiration Date, was featured in the Women at Work Festival (Stage Left Studio), The East to Edinburgh Festival (59E59 Theaters) and at the Edinburgh Fringe (Merchants’ Hall). Her short play, The Broken Teacup was featured at the AEA Diversity show, 21st Century Women. She earned an MFA in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, and her MS in Strategic Communications from Columbia University. Member, HONOR ROLL!


    is a first-generation Haitian-American actress/playwright/director/producer. She founded Conch Shell Productions to develop/showcase new works by Caribbean Diaspora & Caribbean artists who have a passion for innovative storytelling.  A native New Yorker, she received a B.A. from Columbia University, an MBA from Binghamton University, and an MFA in Acting from Yale School of Drama. Magaly’s acting credits include numerous Prime Time, Daytime, film, commercial and theater productions She’s a member of SAG/AFTRA, AEA; and is  two-time O'Neill National Playwright Conference Semi-Finalist. To learn more about her company go to, www.conchshellproductions.com


    is Artistic Director of Boomerang Theatre Company. During his time as Artistic Director of Boomerang, Tim has produced 64 full productions (including 20 free public Shakespeare productions) and produced development workshops and readings for over 100 new plays and even a few musicals. Upcoming projects include The Great Divide, a new one person play by Amy Crossman, and The Lucky Ones by Lia Romeo. In addition to Boomerang, Tim has been on staff at Lincoln Center Theater and New Dramatists. He served on the Honorary Awards Committee for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards and is the former co-president of the Off-Off Broadway Community Dish, a service organization for the Off-Off/Indie Theatre Community. As a writer, Tim's plays include Endless Summer Nights, The Firebird, The Messy Antigone Project and Warm Roses, which will be adapted in a film shooting Summer 2024. His new play-with-music Wonderland is currently in development. Tim holds a BA from Hofstra University's experimental New College, and an MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen from Point Park University.


    is Webby Award-winning producer, actor, writer, and advocate for Asian American Pacific Islander performing artists. As an actor, he has performed on television, film, commercials, digital media, and Off-, and Off-Off-Broadway. As a producer, Ariel is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director for Leviathan Lab, a nonprofit creative studio for Asian American performing artists. As an arts administrator, he is the Associate Director of the Theatre Program at Fordham University, and the Marketing & Membership Director for the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists. His leadership has been recognized by artEquity, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Theatre Communications Group. arielestrada.com | leviathanlab.com | LI: /arielestrada


    is a freelance theatre, opera and musical theatre director, and the Founder and Artistic Director of MultiStages in NYC. She is an advocate for women in theatre and an equity diversity activist. Peress is a Union member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, and SDC; a member of the National Theatre Conference, Women in Arts and Media Coalition, NYWA (New York Women Agenda), and the League of Professional Theatre Women (past co-president 2011-14). She identifies as a multicultural woman with a Puerto Rican, Sephardic Iraqi and Polish background. Peress has directed new works at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre, The Acorn at Theatre Row, HERE, International NY Fringe Festival at the Soho Playhouse, Hudson Guild Theatre, Theatre for the New City, NJ Repertory, La MaMa, Repertorio Espa√Īol, Urban Stages, and others. She directed a special music event for the Lincoln Bicentennial at Riverside Church with Ruby Dee and Sam Waterston, and a concert of the Aids Quilt Song Book at Cooper Union. She has directed university theatre for NYU Tisch, Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and operas at Queens College for the Aaron Copland School of Music and Drama/Dance Depts. She has also directed three 24 hour plays for her alma mater, Bennington College for the Spencer Cox Memorial Fund and Nicolas Martin Scholarship Fund at the Signature Theatre, Lucille Lortel, and the Public Theatre. https://multistages.org/


    has directed, acted, written, and designed for theater for over 35 years. In 2001, he became Artistic Director of New York City‚Äôs Metropolitan Playhouse, a company devoted to exploring the diverse culture and history of the United States through its forgotten theater. He has produced over 100 plays for Metropolitan.¬†¬†Responding to New York City‚Äôs pandemic-related shutdown, he created the ‚Äúvirtual‚ÄĚ playhouse, which for 15 months produced a reading of a one-act play each week, streamed live and free of charge to audiences via the Internet and broadcast to radio listeners on WBAI FM. Metropolitan under his leadership has earned numerous awards, including an OBIE, a Performing Arts award from the Victorian Society of New York, 20 New York Innovative Theater nominations (including three winners), and several AUDELCO Viv nominations. Prior to working with Metropolitan, Alex acted with The Pearl Theatre Company, Gorilla Repertory, and Kings County Shakespeare, and directed for Westside Repertory, Expanded Arts, Gallery Players, and Falstaff Presents.¬†


    Dr. Stephens has always been a theater-lover and after a career in the clinical field of Speech Pathology, she founded Sacred Ground Productions as a necessary response to stereotypical narratives about Black people for the sake of theatrical entertainment. Cynthia has written two musicals, including Nineteen Secrets (not your grandmother‚Äôs Harriet Tubman), The Princess and the Golden Yam (a classic Black fairy tale), and one straight play, Painted Red (about the life of Henrietta Lacks). She has also authored four children‚Äôs books, On Days Like These, 133 Daunting Days, Before Day Clean, and The Princess and the Golden Yam. Dr. Stephens has also edited one adult book titled The Chains That Join (a collection of personal stories, poems, and tributes from people of the African diaspora). In 2021, Cynthia Stephens produced and narrated her first hour-long documentary film about COVID and the Black community. Dr. Stephens believes that people should author their own stories, tell their own truths, and shine their own lights. After all, ‚ÄúUntil the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter.‚ÄĚ (African Proverb).