Backyard Theater Ensemble
1194 Cornerstone Court
Cheshire CT 06410-1860
Contact Information
Address 1194 Cornerstone Court
Cheshire, CT 06410-1860
Telephone (203) 506-9653 x
Fax 203-776-3872
E-mail info@backyardtheater.org
Web and Social Media
The cast and crew from the 2013 production of "5 Women Wearing the Same Dress"
Mission
Backyard Theater Ensemble, Inc. is a collaboration of artists devoting their time, experience and resources to produce theater that inspires, challenges, and entertains both performers and audiences.  Guided by our collective artistic vision, volunteer artists each fulfill multiple roles on stage, behind the scenes, and in the community.  These roles capitalize on members' talents while also acknowledging weaknesses to empower growth.  We create theater that is a powerful instrument asking all ensemble and audience members to confront the realities of our world.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 2013
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Kailee Donovan
Board Chair Ms. Kailee Donovan
Board Chair Company Affiliation Connecticut Wealth Management
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission Backyard Theater Ensemble, Inc. is a collaboration of artists devoting their time, experience and resources to produce theater that inspires, challenges, and entertains both performers and audiences.  Guided by our collective artistic vision, volunteer artists each fulfill multiple roles on stage, behind the scenes, and in the community.  These roles capitalize on members' talents while also acknowledging weaknesses to empower growth.  We create theater that is a powerful instrument asking all ensemble and audience members to confront the realities of our world.
Background This organization began when the Town of Cheshire cut the budget for the young adult community theater program. This program gave upper high school, college, and post-college young adults an opportunity to continue to participate in theater without becoming professionals. The limited number of high quality theater programs in our area means there is a lot of competition for roles and many talented people do not have an opportunity to get as involved as they would like to. Our company was started after the Cheshire program was eliminated as a means to give talented young adults an opportunity to continue to participate in high quality, non-professional theater that interests and challenges them. Today we are a growing company comprised of all volunteer, non-professional artists looking for new members. We continue to choose shows that are challenging and inspiring for all of our volunteers.
Impact Since the company's establishment in 2011 we continue to grow and improve upon the original structure that was created.  The organization has consistently added new members over the past five years. This growth is moderate and sustainable.  We are also hoping to network more with other community theaters to work with them on productions and to reach more potential patrons. As we embark on future productions we continue to look to grow the size of our company in order to allow us to choose from a larger pool of productions and give more local amateur thespians an opportunity to do what they love. 
Needs As a small organization comprised of entirely volunteers our needs are many. We are looking to add new members to the company to increase the number of volunteers we have. We are always looking to develop the theater space we working in or to eventually be able to support the rental or ownership of our own theater space in central Connecticut. We also hope to expand the reach of our company to wider areas of potential audience members. Almost all of these goals require more funding. We'd like to enlist more consistent donors or sponsors for our productions as well as apply for more grants. 
CEO Statement

Our company emphasizes having members fulfill multiple roles in the producing of a show. We believe that to truly immerse oneself in theater is to know all the aspects of putting on a production, from on stage to behind the scenes. We have taken people who traditionally only perform as actors and have had them try out roles like costume design, set design, publicity, and directing.

   We choose productions that are challenging for actors and audiences. Many shows produced today are lighthearted or well known in an effort to attract an audience. From a business perspective, we certainly try to choose some shows like that. However, we feel it is important to highlight some less popular works that we find relevant and touching. Our previous shows have dealt with love, grief, PTSD in war veterans, physical & emotional abuse, alcoholism, feminism, and many other challenging topics that many people face throughout their lives. While some of these topics are difficult to deal with, they connect with many people, bringing a truly immersive experience to our patrons. While we hope to connect with the audience, we as actors and directors also feel extremely passionate because we connect with the material. Many of our shows are chosen because a particular member of our ensemble has a connection with a piece. This brings a very high level of passion and commitment to our performances that we are often praised for.

Performances in a small black box theater offer a completely different experience to audience members. The audience is so close to the actors that they often feel more connected to the play. It is also a both a treat and a challenge for actors because there is not a moment that goes by where the audience is not "right there with you". Any moment that is "insincere" is felt by the audience. This offers our directors and actors a challenge unlike any they've had before. Diction and projection are common skills actors develop, but true immersion in the character and the scene are our goal. This is what makes BTE unique because it is such a rare experience and it is one of the things we are proudest of as a company. We value this experience because the shows we choose are often very touching and personal, and to experience that as an actor or audience member in a space like ours is rare and remarkable.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Theater
Secondary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities /
Areas Served
Cheshire
Ansonia
Lower Naugatuck Valley
Oxford
Seymour
Shelton
Other
We serve the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Greater New Haven, Waterbury, and Torrington areas.
Programs
Description

August 21-30, 2015

Performed at the Thomaston Opera House Arts Center Theater
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Assistant Director: Chet Ostroski
Cast: Kailee Donovan, Sybil Haggard Chamberlin
Production Team: Chris Petrucci, Adam Peacock, Dylan Reilly

The setting is a familiar one, a 5th grade classroom. A parent shows up unexpectedly for a parent/teacher conference demanding to know why her son was suspended, which she believes led to his tragic suicide. The emotionally stressed classroom teacher is put on the defensive as she tries to articulate her reasoning for the suspension, and belief as to where exactly to lay the blame for the boy’s death. The two women struggle as they deal with their emotions. The accusations fly as they begin to try to unravel the knot that is Gidion. The play deals with a child’s violent fantasy. It questions free expression, whether it is limited by societal needs, or the desire to neatly label and solve problems that have no solutions, neat or otherwise. It is a visceral and provocative theater experience that is raw, honest, disturbing, and yes, funny at times. It is a tale that must be understood emotionally, not just intellectually.

Population Served Adults / /
Description

April 24-May 4, 2014
Performed at Thomaston Opera House Arts Center, Thomaston, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Assistant Director: Kailee Donovan
Cast: Tina Parziale, Tai Spargo, Taylor Crofton, Jennifer Dowker, Chet Ostroski, Sean Gilleylen
Producer: Abygale Lund
Crew: Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly, Chris Petrucci, Kailee Donovan, Abygale Lund, Christina Domschine, Joe Rinaldi


An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man with a lot of loose ends. So begins Dead Man's Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative new comedy by Sarah Ruhl. A work about how we memorialize the dead and how that remembering changes us. It is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. "In her new oddball comedy, Ruhl is forever vital in her lyrical and biting takes on how we behave." - The Washington Post
Population Served / /
Description

May 27-June 5, 2016
Performed at the Thomaston Opera House Arts Center Theatre
Directed by Lucia Dressel

Cast: Tina Parziale, Frank Beaudry, Abby Lund, Amy Kopchik
Producer: Kailee Donovan
Production Team: Ryan Wantroba, Chris Petrucci, Dylan Reilly, Adam Peacock

Extremities is a searing play about rape, power, and gender in society. A young woman, Marjorie, is attacked in her home by a stalker and would-be rapist, Raul. She manages to turn the tables on him, tying him up in her fireplace. Her roommates, Terry and Patricia, come home to discover the attacker bound with cords, belts, and other household items. The roommates express different points of view about rape and justice. Terry, a rape victim herself as a teenager, believes that Raul will not be convicted since a rape did not actually occur and there is no proof. Patricia believes in the judicial system and insists on calling the police. The three friends turn on the attacker and each other at various points in the play.

Population Served Adults / Females /
Description

November 6-16, 2014
Performed at Thomaston Opera House Arts Center, Thomaston, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Cast: Kailee Donovan, Tina Parziale, Dawn DeMeo, Sybil Chamberlin, Sean Gilleylen, Chet Ostroski
Producer: Abygale Lund
Crew: Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly, Chris Petrucci, Taylor Crofton, Christina Domschine

The scene is Hazlehurst, Mississippi, where the three Magrath sisters have gathered to await news of the family patriarch, their grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the local hospital. Lenny, the oldest sister, is unmarried at thirty and facing diminishing marital prospects; Meg, the middle sister, who quickly outgrew Hazlehurst, is back after a failed singing career on the West Coast; while Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after having shot her husband in the stomach. Their troubles, grave and yet, somehow, hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, Chick, and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep Babe out of jail while helpless not to fall in love with her. In the end the play is the story of how its young characters escape the past to seize the future—but the telling is so true and touching and consistently hilarious that it will linger in the mind long after the curtain has descended.

Population Served / /
Description
Laundry & Bourbon, A One Act by James McLure
This was BTE's second, and fourth production that has been revived again for participation in AACT's state and New England Regional festivals. BTE won the state awards for Outstanding Production, Best Director, and Best Use of Space.
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis
Cast: Kailee Donovan, Taylor Crofton, Tina Parziale 
The setting is the front porch of Roy and Elizabeth's home in Maynard, Texas, on a hot summer afternoon. Elizabeth and her friend Hattie are whiling away the time folding laundry, watching TV, sipping bourbon and Coke, and gossiping about the many open secrets which are so much a part of small-town life. They are joined by the self-righteous Amy Lee who, among other tidbits, can't resist blurting out that Roy has been seen around town with another woman. While the ensuing conversation is increasingly edged with bitter humor, from it emerges a sense of Elizabeth's inner strength and her quiet understanding of the turmoil which has beset her husband since his return from Vietnam. He is wild, and he is unfaithful, but he needs her, and she loves him. And she'll be waiting for him when he comes home—no matter what others may say or think.
 
Population Served Adults / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. The Awards won at the state-wide festival and the advancement to the regional festival has gotten the BTE name out into the community as well as given the, now award-winning, organization some prestige.
Program Comments
CEO Comments All of the shows this organization has presented have been challenging and touching for both actors and audiences. The laughter or the silence of an emotional moment fill this theater for every performance. The members of this company have grown with every production and can now paint their characters and scenes with more and more colors as true performing artists.
CEO/Executive Director
Ms. Kailee Donovan
Term Start Sept 2011
Email president@backyardtheater.org
Experience

Kailee Donovan is one of the founding members of BTE. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Masters degree in Education. She has extensive experience and training in leadership, delegation, and communication and uses those skills as a leader of BTE. Kailee has been a theater lover all her life, attending her first show at the age of 7. She puts her experience with theater, love of the stage, and passion for leadership into her role as CEO of BTE.

Co-CEO
Mr. Chester Ostroski
Term Start Sept 2011
Email chet.ostroski@gmail.com
Experience Chet has been a theater lover all his life. He has fulfilled roles on stage and behind the scenes for 15 years. He takes his management and communication experience from a number of jobs and applies them to his work as a leader of BTE.
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 16
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 0%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Comments
CEO Comments As a small and young company, many of these policies are something we hope to add as we continue to grow our membership and audience base and gain the funding to support such expansion. 
Board Chair
Ms. Kailee Donovan
Company Affiliation Connecticut Wealth Management
Term Dec 2016 to Dec 2018
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Mr. Chester Ostroski IIIVice President
Mr. Christopher Petrucci Chief Financial Officer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Board Co-Chair
Mr. Chester Ostroski III
Company Affiliation Alexion Pharmaceuticals
Term Dec 2016 to Dec 2018
Email chet.ostroski@gmail.com
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2016
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2016
Projected Revenue $5,000.00
Projected Expenses $3,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
Documents
Form 990s
990N2015
9902014
9902013
IRS Letter of Exemption
IRS Non Profit Determination
Other Documents
Other Documents 3
NameYear
Extremities Poster2016View
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$5,693$2,351--
Administration Expense$2,118$2,531--
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates$866$1,700--
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.111.44--
Program Expense/Total Expenses66%36%--
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets------
Current Assets------
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets------
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets------
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
CEO Comments Our financial status as a non-profit has helped us gain some donations in the past two years. We are hoping to build up those donations over the next few years while also seeking season and production sponsors. Our company will not grow to the size we want it to without further support from donors or grants. We believe our cause is noble and worthy of such support if we can get our message out to the public.
Foundation Staff Comments

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 Community Foundation.  Financial information is input 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 requires three years of financial information from the nonprofit organization; however, this requirement may not be available for some organizations due to their more recent incorporation or formation. 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.

Address 1194 Cornerstone Court
Cheshire, CT 064101860
Primary Phone 203 506-9653
Contact Email info@backyardtheater.org
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Kailee Donovan
Board Chair Ms. Kailee Donovan
Board Chair Company Affiliation Connecticut Wealth Management

 

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