Mission

 

Threefold:

  • To produce good multicultural playwriting from all eras with resonance for today’s audiences, especially focusing on developing Newark’s local talent pool of performers, writers and theatre professionals;
  • To make a difference and deepen the understanding of humanity in the Newark prison community by working with inmates to create theatre;
  • and (last, but Not Least, that’s for sure):  To create theatre with Newark schoolchildren that will enrich and empower tomorrow’s audiences and communities.
At the new, multicultural Midlantic Theatre Company, we want to bring Theatre, Schools Outreach and eventually, Prison Outreach, that feed and entertain you. We want to revel in writers’ characters, stories and words, served by, not driven by, production values. Those characters are: you. – – What will we put on? Everything. New, classic, musical, AUGUST WILSON, Amiri Baraka, as many of the Greats as possible, from every culture … We especially want to give Shakespeare a better deal than he sometimes gets. True delivery of the goods: his characters experience big emotions that matter, AND they capitalize on his vast array of sparkling words. We aim to deliver the goods. The world could use him now, and his audience deserves their rapt attention on his characters onstage. You, the audience, deserve to walk out of our theater alive with feelings and thoughts. Our motto: “Theater For Everyone Is Exciting!”  So are you, to be here on our website. Now, please, see what we do!  
 
Virginia Hammer, Artistic Director: 
 
I was lucky enough to have been born in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, in August Wilson (America’s greatest African-American playwright, undisputedly)’s neighborhood.
 
Thereafter, my family moved all around the world, every 2 or 3 years, average.  We got around!  Both parents = Gemini’s – much restlessness! and a maverick Big Banking Exec. father:  That’ll Do It.  I got to know and work with people from every race, every religion, practically every language.  – I only speak 4 so far, but I CAN say “frog” in 24 languages; working on more … Yes, do think that one through …
 
I do believe we all need to TRY to:  Get Along a lil’ better now, at this environmentally critical  — dangerous —  time in global human history.  It’s a 21st-Century Global Economy now, y’all.  This is:  Serious.
Serio-Comic.
 
I believe that every great city in America thrives on:  nay:  demands:  Diversity.  We all help each other out with our strengths  our weaknesses.  From these, we develop courage, critically-thinking skills, endurance and EMPATHY.  We learn to step into each others’ shoes a little.  To help each other co-exist productively instead of destructively.  To help bear each others’ burdens.  In short:  to see ourselves reflected in each others’ eyes and lives, no matter our color, no matter our creed or religion, no matter from where we come, no matter what our $ bank balance may be.
 
Sure, Theater “merely” entertains:  Helps Take Ourselves Away from our own minds, troubles and aching hearts, a little.
(That isn’t nothing, either.) 
WE AIM TO ENTERTAIN YOU.
That is our job.
 
Can Theater, though, help with Social Justice, too?
 
YOU BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY IT CAN.
 
It doesn’t even Hurt Your Brain.*  It can be fun, sexy, terrible, moving, disturbing, contentious:  full of Conflict.  Good!  GOOD.
 
(* In fact, it can Help it.  Live!  In That Fun, Hot and Cool Way.)
 
  I was given plenty of rejection during my 11-month search for the right, large space for “Henry VI”. “Henry” was oft pronounced not radical enough. Hey: Shakespeare, staged “pure,” is often radical    
 nowadays. Pure and simple. No schtick, easy on the 21st century irony / comments. Sure, update the setting once in a while, make this glorious, ever-compelling writing  – which will never, ever die nor, probably ever be surpassed – more “relevant” sometimes; but LET THE “CONCEPT” SERVE THE CHARACTERS and story, 1st and foremost, not clog it up. WS – William Shakespeare – is pretty whole-hearted. I’m not advocating a $5 set and everybody in black bodysuits. But WS’s characters think and feel very fully; isn’t truly using those words,
 enough?I was lucky to be raised, 1973 – 1983, on trips to Stratford, Ontario’s Golden Age. I’m blest and cursed with the memories of Maggie Smith, William Hutt, other international stars and a company
 the NY Times called the best on the North American continent. The audience were riveted to the stage.
Maggie Smith’s 1978 Rosalind – which I saw and heard twice – Shakespeare’s masterfully love-filled comedy “As You Like It” –   is probably still the greatest stage performance I’ve ever seen.

Let’s get out of the way of those magic words! Highly trained actors, familiar with WS’ demanding idiom, with the requisite physical and mental energy to rock him on a live stage; PASSIONATE, TALENTED & MULTICULTURAL PERFORMERS, whether experienced or not, of all ages, who care about issues that matter to us all and CREATE NEW THEATRE to help us grapple with these “issues;” astute & honestly skilled directors, good production values that help those words, not overshadow them: that’s our responsibility. Modern writers; dancers, singers, musicians; new writers, comedians, tragedians; the Classics:

Their people are us all. They’re enough. Who knew?

For more information, please contact us.

Midlantic Theatre Company is a NJ 501©3 non-for-profit corporation. All donations are fully tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

 

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