Long Wharf Theatre’s mission is to create theatre of the highest quality that inspires reflection and discourse about each of us and the world in which we live.
Wharf Theatre is dedicated to producing plays at the highest artistic level
that tell the human story—stories that underscore and reinforce our commonality
and reflect what it is like to be alive today. We aim to integrate our work
into the fabric of our community, both locally and nationally, in order to
stimulate dialogue, become a springboard for discourse, and be an educational
resource for students of all ages.
We partner with local organizations to integrate themes of our productions into community-wide engagement. This includes our partnership with the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) with which we create Community Conversations, inspired by our plays, in each of the Library’s five city-wide branches. Long Wharf is a micro-branch of NHFPL; books related to our productions’ themes may be borrowed at the Theatre. As well, New Haven residents may also “borrow” tickets from any NHFPL branch for their personal use, which makes the theatre financially accessible to our hometown citizens.
Our education programs facilitate lifelong learning and encourage individual expression for Greater New Haven residents of all ages. We use themes from our mainstage productions to explore literary, historical, political, and social perspectives of a script through in-school workshops tied to classroom curricula, which culminates in students’ attendance at a Long Wharf play. Our Educators’ Laboratory is a professional development program for educators of all subjects and grade levels that enlivens any curricula through arts-based learning techniques and academic year-long, in-classroom mentorship by a teaching artist. Long Wharf also offers group and private acting lessons.
our 52 year history, Long Wharf has developed a legacy of sustained artistic
achievement and a commitment to emerging and established playwrights and the
production of their work. During Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein’s 14 seasons
alone, Long Wharf has produced more than thirty world, American, and regional
premieres of new work, which keeps us competitive within the national field and
brings the best new plays and musicals to New Haven. One in seven Long Wharf
productions has gone on to a future life in New York or at another regional
theatre, and more than 30 productions have transferred to Broadway or
Off-Broadway. Of our many world premieres, three received the Pulitzer Prize
for Drama. During the 2014-15 season, Long Wharf received the 50 Years of
Achievement in Theatre from the National Corporate Theatre Fund as well as the
Major Award for Outstanding Contributions to New England Theatre, the highest
honor from New England Theatre Conference.
1. General Operating Support, which funds all of Long Wharf’s activities, including its productions, new play
development, community engagement initiatives, and education programs.
3. Expand Education Programs to grow the number of Gr. New Haven students and teachers served by our in-school and at-theatre programs; create a dedicated space for programming; establish an initiative that results in a production created and performed by youth; and create a scholarship fund for students who otherwise cannot afford to attend our Student Theatre Series productions.
4. Expansion of Community Engagement Programs including new partnerships with Shoreline libraries, and increased communal events like our successful SING YOUR STORY competition, to engage new and diverse audiences.
Wharf Theatre was born 52 years ago because a handful of young and idealistic
theatre lovers believed that New Haven deserved a world class theatre company. For
more than a half-century, Long Wharf has developed, nurtured, and supported a professional
theatre that enriches the cultural fabric of our community. Our productions
bring the finest actors, directors, designers, and playwrights to the Elm City,
and our world premiere plays have continued life on and Off-Broadway and at
regional theatres across the country, creating hometown pride for our work.
In a time of diminishing investment in arts education, Long Wharf delivers thousands of students and educators with in-school and at-theatre programming. We provide youth with critical 21st century workplace skills that are sought after in every industry—creative problem solving, working collaboratively in a diverse team, and public speaking and presentation skills—and invest in the skillset of teachers. Furthermore, Long Wharf offers lifelong learning opportunities for community members of all ages, ranging from in-depth discussions of a play’s relevance to Long Wharf to playwriting classes for residents at an assisted living facility.
Your generous support helps to ensure another fifty years of vital and valuable theatre for New Haven. Thank you for your kind consideration of Long Wharf Theatre in your charitable giving plans.
Established at the start
of the regional theatre movement, Long Wharf is an important cultural asset to
both Greater New Haven and the national theatre community. Our institution is
led by the dynamic team of Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing
Director Joshua Borenstein. Gordon has been as Artistic Director for 14
seasons, and has developed a critically acclaimed balance between a commitment
to the living writer and a fresh approach to the theatrical cannon. In Josh,
the Board has found someone who combines wisdom, strength, practical theatre
knowhow with strategic savvy. Together, they engage multiple constituencies in
our community, have led our theatre into fiscal stability, and ensure our
organization remains an important cultural voice in the 21st century.
Long Wharf has historically invested its resources, time, and energy into work on stage and in the community without making comparable investments in its facility. To address this, in November 2012 we completed a $3.9 million investment in our main performance space. In addition to technical upgrades, the renovated The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre features new seats with increased legroom; a comfortable temperature from a new (and quiet!) HVAC system; shorter lines for the restrooms; and an expanded lobby. With easy access to highways and abundant free parking, the entire Long Wharf experience is exciting and refreshed—and world-class theatre may now be enjoyed in equally outstanding comfort.
While artistic quality is paramount, Long Wharf recognizes that serving the community through the arts means more than attracting an audience to a show. We have increased our investment in education and community programs that allow for the greatest mission-based impact possible. During our 2012-13 season, we quadrupled in-school residencies and the number of students served has increased by 20%, a service level that we have sustained in the following seasons. These education programs are available to schools across the state, including those in the 20 town and city area that CFGNH serves. We are expanding the reach of theatre through our partnership with the New Haven Free Public Library and through increased productions for families with young children next season.
Long Wharf relies equally upon ticket sales and charitable giving from its audience members, corporations, foundations, government, and individual donors like you. In recognition of our service to the artistic field and the community, I hope you will make a tax-deductible donation in support of Long Wharf’s legacy and its annual season of work.
R. Sanford Stoddard, Chair, Board of Trustees
Wharf Theatre’s 52nd season includes six dynamic plays and musicals. It
includes three world premieres: METEOR SHOWER by Steve Martin, NAPOLI BROOKLYN
by Meghan Kennedy, and the new American musical TABLE by composer David Shire
and librettist Adam Gopnik. Other productions include SMART PEOPLE by Lydia R.
Diamond, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY by Jerry Sterner, and ENDGAME by Samuel Beckett,
which stars Brian Dennehy.
Wharf’s 2016-17 productions are brought to life by the finest actors,
directors, and designers in the field. Our productions regularly garner feature
stories and rave reviews in local and national press, including The New York
Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The New Haven Register,
and Hartford Courant, among other publications.
Long Wharf Theatre dedicates itself to producing plays at the
highest artistic level that tell the human story, stories that underscore and
reinforce our commonality and stories that tell us what it’s like to be alive
today. Our 52st season includes six productions that tell diverse and
compelling stories that inform our 21st century existence and allows
us to integrate the performing arts into the community by using its productions
as a springboard for discourse for its patrons and Greater New Haven
Long Wharf utilizes a number of criteria to determine the success
of each season. First and foremost, we look to ensure that the creative artists
found the development and production process to be nurturing and supportive of
their artistry. Second, informal responses are gathered from audience reactions
during the production and patron feedback during post-show conversations with
Long Wharf staff and through e-mail surveys. Third, Long Wharf evaluates the
quantity and quality of critical response for each production. Fourth, we
review the number of subscription and single tickets sold and compares it to our
sales goals as well as sales at peer institutions as a quantitative measure of
success. Finally, an in-house, post-production review of the entire production
process allows staff members to discuss and learn from the accomplishments of,
and obstacles in, each play of the season.
During its 2014-15
season, Long Wharf's production of BAD JEWS extended beyond its original run
and became the highest grossing play on Stage II since it opened in the 1977-78
season. Long Wharf’s 2013-14 production of SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF transferred
to a commercial Off-Broadway production; ten productions of the play have been
produced in the 2015 – 2016 season or scheduled for the 2016 – 2017 season. Our
2014-15 world premiere of THE SECOND MRS. WILSON transferred to George Street
Playhouse in New Jersey last season. Long Wharf Theatre productions have
received six years of consecutive funding from the National Endowment for the
Arts, the federal agency that supports artistic excellence.
Wharf serves as a laboratory for playwrights to craft and refine new work, and
fosters the kind of collaboration among writers, directors, dramaturgs,
designers, and actors that results in well-developed, thoughtful, and highly engaging
productions. Our new play program is intended to develop a writer’s talent
through the development of a new work. Long Wharf also produces plays and
musicals that have recently premiered, which allows writers to continue
exploring and refining their scripts. As part of our 50th
anniversary, Long Wharf established The Lord/Kubler Fund for New Work. Named
for two of Long Wharf’s most ardent founding trustees, the Fund will support
the development of new work and endow the annual Arvin Brown Commission, which named
in honor of Long Wharf’s longest serving artistic director. In 2015, we
established the Contemporary American Voices Festival, an annual weekend of
staged readings by emerging and established writers.
new plays that were developed and/or produced by Long Wharf include LEWISTON by
Samuel D. Hunter (World Premiere, 2015-16 season) JANUARY JOINER by Laura
Jacqmin (World Premiere, 2012-13); RIDE THE TIGER by William Mastrosimone (2nd
production, 2012-13); THE CONSULTANT by Heidi Schreck (World Premiere,
2013-14); THE SHADOW OF THE HUMMINGBIRD by Athol Fugard (World Premiere,
2013-14); FOREVER by Dael Orlandersmith (World Premiere, 2014-15); BROWNSVILLE
SONG (B-SIDE FOR TRAY) by Kimber Lee (2nd production, 2014-15); THE
SECOND MRS. WILSON (World Premiere, 2014-15); as well as SERIAL BLACK FACE by
Janine Nabers AUBERGINE by Julia Cho, and CLARKSTON by Samuel D. Hunter, which
received workshops and readings 2014-15). This season, we are producing the
world premieres of TABLE a new musical by composer David Shire and librettist Adam Gopnik; NAPOLI BROOKLYN
by Meghan Kennedy; and METEOR SHOWER by Steve Martin.
Long Wharf has an established commitment to developing and
producing work by living writers, which is supported by a highly sophisticated
audience proficient in attending premiere productions. During Artistic Director
Gordon Edelstein’s fourteen seasons alone, Long Wharf has produced more than
thirty world, American, and regional premieres of new work by emerging and
established writers including Julia Cho, Samuel D. Hunter, Noah Haidle, Laura
Jacqmin, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Gabriel Kahane, James Lapine, Craig Lucas,
Charles L. Mee, Dael Orlandersmith, Anna Deavere Smith, Paula Vogel, and Tracey
Scott Wilson, among others. Prior to full production, Long Wharf first
supported many of these new plays with developmental workshops and
Long Wharf looks to ensure that it provides a supportive,
nurturing environment for each artist’s creative process, supporting them
through each stage of a play’s development—from commission to workshop to full
seven Long Wharf productions has enjoyed a future life in New York or at
another regional theatre, many of which were world premiere shows. This has led
to Long Wharf’s national reputation among artists and peer theatres alike for
quality development and production of new work, establishing the careers of
emerging writers, and furthering the careers of established playwrights.
Arts education is
critical for the development of 21st century workplace skills,
especially in the areas of creative problem solving, working collaboratively in
a diverse team, public speaking, and presentation skills. Long Wharf has
developed a suite of school-based education programs that invest in both teachers
and students and augment learning opportunities during times of budgetary
stagnation. Programs include the Student Theatre Series, which
incorporates age-appropriate productions into the curricula of middle and high
school students through printed and video study guides, a three-day residency
by a Long Wharf teaching artist, and attendance at a Long Wharf production; Educators’
Laboratory, experiential seminars that provide teachers with exposure to a
wide variety of artistic perspectives that may be translated into any course of
study; and In-School Residencies by teaching artists that serve as a
supplement to or, in some cases, are the sole drama education in these schools.
Long Wharf’s school-based education
programs help fill the gap left by budgetary constraints of local school
districts while providing unique and engaging opportunities for learning to
Greater New Haven students and educators. In recognition of its historical
success with school-based programming, Long Wharf received an award from the
Werth Family Foundation, which allowed the Theatre to significantly expand its
investment in both teacher professional development and in-school residencies. Teachers
who sign up for all three Educators’ Laboratory sessions receive year-long,
in-school mentorship by a Long Wharf teaching artist to help them make the leap
between theory and practice. The Theatre’s capacity to provide in-school
residencies has also increased, helping to meet the demand for programming by
school administrators and teachers alike.
Though Long Wharf’s education
programs are available to schools and educators statewide, the majority of
participants come from the Greater New Haven area. During the 2015-16 season, 95%
(19) of Educators’ Laboratory teachers, 81% (3,099) of Student Theatre Series
students, and 79% (1,329) of In-School Residency students came from the twenty
town/city area that The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven serves.
Over its ten years, Educators’ Laboratory has served 99 teachers in 45 Connecticut schools. These educators teach English, Reading, History, Social Studies, English as a Second Language (ESL), Science, Career Development, Drama, and Music and have exponentially reached more than 19,000 students. In-school residencies, which may last a week, a month, or an entire academic year, have been held for all grade levels at multiple sites and have fulfilled the arts programming needs of individual schools.
the academic year, Long Wharf’s education department meets with teachers of
participating classes to ensure that our school-based education programs meets
their goals and enhances existing curricula. Educators also complete surveys
that assess the effectiveness of the elements of each program. If
appropriate, students may complete evaluations, which helps Long Wharf gauge
the experience from multiple perspectives. Feedback is considered as our
education program curricula are crafted for each season.
the last four years, Long Wharf’s number of in-school residencies has
quadrupled and the total number of students served has increased by 20%. Long
Wharf Theatre sustained this level of service to students during 2013-14, 2014-15,
and 2015-16 seasons.
To engage the community in its artistic life, Long Wharf elastically applies the themes of each production to conversations with its audiences and the community, which allows for meaningful interactions with Greater New Haven residents. Post-show discussions are hosted by Long Wharf artistic staff after nearly every performance. The Theatre extends this dialogue beyond the stage through strategic partnerships with local institutions, such as the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL). Long Wharf’s Elder Play Project engages the senior citizen community in the creation of memoir-based drama.
Elder Play Program engaged twenty residents ages 77 to 100 at Tower One/Tower
East; the dramatic retelling of their oral histories will be presented there
and at Long Wharf in August 2016. In collaboration with The Community
Foundation for Greater New Haven, in April 2015 Long Wharf produced “Violence
in Our Community: In Search of Understanding and Empathy,” a convening of
public health officials, government representatives, community activists, and
concerned residents. Inspired by Long Wharf’s production of BROWNSVILLE SONG
(B-SIDE FOR TRAY), these groups came together to discuss urban violence, in
particular gun violence, in New Haven and ways that we can combat an issue that
deeply affects our city.
While artistic quality is
paramount, Long Wharf recognizes that serving the community through the arts
means more than attracting an audience to a show. As a result, Long Wharf
continues to increase its investment in strategic community programs that allow
for the greatest mission-based impact possible. A significant portion of Long
Wharf’s audience is comprised of lifelong learners—those whose lives are
enriched by the continual pursuit of education through culture. Through
engaging post-show conversations about the productions on stage, community-wide
conversations through the Theatre’s partnership with the New Haven Free Public
Library, and the Elder Play Project at Tower One/Tower East, Long Wharf creates
meaningful arts-based interactions that celebrate and demonstrate the relevance
of the performing arts to our daily lives.
program success is monitored by the number of individuals participating in each
program and their level of engagement in each conversation or program. Long
Wharf also monitors changes in the demographic composition and the geographic
footprint of its audiences as a measurement of its effective reach in the
community. For its collaboration with the New Haven Free Public Library, Long
Wharf will review the quantity of materials borrowed from its micro-lending
site, the use of borrowed tickets from the NHFPL’s five branches, and the
attendance levels at the community-wide conversations.
Because of their longevity and
upstanding service to the community, the collaboration between Long Wharf and
NHFPL was established through a highly competitive award from Co-Creating
Effective and Inclusive Organizations, a New Haven institution that seeks to
effect change through community-serving organizations.
Long Wharf is one of the few regional theatres in the country with a lifelong learning program for senior citizens; the Elder Play Project has provided participants with greater social engagement and an engaging retelling of their oral histories. Because of its success, this Long Wharf program was featured in a case study commissioned by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American theatre, about best practices for audience engagement.
Borenstein is in his sixth season as Long Wharf Theatre's Managing Director. In
this capacity, Borenstein co-produces the season with Artistic Director Gordon
Edelstein by leading the theatre’s administrative and financial operations. During
his tenure, Long Wharf celebrated its 50th anniversary season; led
an Off-Broadway transfer of SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF to New York; completed
a $4 million, award-winning renovation of the Claire Tow Stage at the C. Newton
Schenck III Theatre; established a new endowment to fund new play development;
expanded its community engagement initiatives with nationally recognized
programs; and doubled the size of its education department. Borenstein also
worked at Long Wharf from 2003 to 2007 in various general management
capacities. Prior to Long Wharf, Borenstein served in various roles at AMS
Planning & Research, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company.
Borenstein was also at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston through Theatre
Communication Group’s “New Generations” program.
Borenstein has been a guest lecturer at Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, and Boston University. He has served as a grant panelist for the NEA/ArtsMidwest, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Borenstein currently serves on the boards of Theatre Forward, the Connecticut Arts Alliance, and New Haven’s Arts Industry Coalition. He was recognized in Connecticut Magazine’s “40 Under 40: Class of 2014.” Borenstein is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Yale School of Drama.
Edelstein is in his fourteenth season as Long
Wharf Theatre’s Artistic Director. In addition to his recent work on the world
premiere of Athol Fugard’s HAVE
YOU SEEN US? and his own adaptation of A DOLL’S HOUSE, Edelstein
directed COMING HOME at
Berkeley Rep and Long Wharf’s production of THE GLASS MENAGERIE starring Judith Ivey at the
Roundabout Theatre. As a director, he has garnered three
Connecticut Critics Circle Awards and, during his Long Wharf tenure, the
Theatre has produced world premieres by Athol Fugard, Paula Vogel, Craig Lucas,
Julia Cho, Noah Haidle, Dael Orlandersmith, and Anna Deavere Smith. Over the
course of his career, Edelstein has also directed and/or produced premieres by
Philip Glass, Arthur Miller, Donald Margulies, James Lapine, Charles Mee, Mac
Wellman, and Martin McDonagh, among many others, and has directed an extremely
diverse body of work from Sophocles to Pinter, from Shakespeare to Beckett.
Under Edelstein’s artistic leadership, Long Wharf has received fourteen additional Connecticut Critics Circle Awards, including six best actor or actress awards in plays that he directed. He was also given the organization’s Tom Killen Award, awarded annually to an individual who has made an indelible impact on the Connecticut theatrical landscape. Edelstein has directed countless plays and workshops for Long Wharf including the world premieres of BFE (transfer to Playwrights Horizons), THE DAY THE BRONX DIED (transfer to New York and London), A DANCE LESSON, and THE TIMES, as well as WE WON’T PAY! WE WON’T PAY!, A NEW WAR, A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN, ANNA CHRISTIE, THE FRONT PAGE, and MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA, starring Jane Alexander. Prior to assuming artistic leadership of Long Wharf Theatre, Edelstein helmed Seattle’s ACT Theatre for five years. He received a B.A. with honors in History and Religious Studies from Grinnell College in 1976 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Grinnell College in 2003.
its strategic education and community programs, Long Wharf has a myriad of
Greater New Haven partners who help the Theatre achieve the greatest
mission-based impact possible. This includes Connecticut elementary, middle,
and high schools who participate in the Student Theatre Series, Educators’
Laboratory, and in-school residencies; Long Wharf’s collaboration with the New
Haven Free Public Library; and New Haven’s Tower One/Tower East where the Elder
Play Project is currently in residence.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Long Wharf Theatre
recently completed a financial restructuring that eliminated all outstanding
debt service and ameliorated its accumulated deficit incurred from the FY2009
financial crisis, as well. However, during the development of its three-year
strategic plan (which starts in FY2017), Long Wharf Theatre’s Board realized
that it had to make investments in seven key areas in order to make the
organization sustainable in the long term: 1) Shoring up the subscription base
by making fresh investments in subscription acquisition; 2) create a dynamic
pricing model for single tickets so that pricing is variable based on the
commercial popularity of each production; 3) create an annual holiday show in
order to have an ongoing offering for families each season; 4) increase the
investment in individual giving, which is the area of greatest potential for
contributed giving in our region; 5) make investments to increase Long Wharf’s
market footprint in order to reach new audience members and potential donors;
6) expand the education programs in order to provide instruction, which is
eroding in our public school system; and 7) expand our community engagement
efforts to develop audiences for the next generation as well as increase our
Theatre’s value to the public.
These investments require a significant financial outlay. Therefore, our Board of Trustees determined that incurring a deficit in FY2017 was important for the long-term health of the organization. Without this action, the Board was concerned that Long Wharf would merely tread water for the next several years. The Finance Committee developed an operating pro forma budget that supports the goals of our strategic plan to show how the Theatre can be back to a balanced budget by FY2018 and then start to generate surplus revenues from the current fiscal year’s investments beginning in FY2019.
Joshua Borenstein, Managing Director
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
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