"One of the finest not-for-profits in New York City."
—Susan Haskins, Theatre Talk

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We are so proud to celebrate our 35th Anniversary Season this year! As The Vineyard’s new Managing Director, it has been such a joy to learn about the theatre’s rich history and, in partnership with Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern, to chart a course forward.

For more than three decades, The Vineyard has strived to engage audiences and nurture unique voices through the work we develop and produce. The Vineyard began as a multidisciplinary arts center in the early 1980s with a budget of less than $60,000. Thirty-five years, two Pulitzer Prizes, and five Tony Awards later, we have grown into an award-winning Off-Broadway theatre with an annual budget over $3 million. From our very first show, ALEC WILDER: CLUES TO A LIFE—conceived by founder Barbara Zinn Krieger—to our current production, David Cale’s HARRY CLARKE starring longtime Vineyard artist Billy Crudup, we have come a long way. We have had the privilege to work with some incredible artists repeatedly across their careers, including John Kander and Susan Stroman, who first came to The Vineyard in 1987 with Kander and Ebb’s FLORA THE RED MENACE (earning Susan Stroman her first New York professional choreography credit!). To have these living legends continue to create new work at The Vineyard over the last 30 years truly illustrates what it means to give these artists an artistic home, and we are thrilled to premiere Stroman, Thompson and Kander’s THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE this spring.

Before I joined The Vineyard in January, I knew it as the home of AVENUE Q, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, THREE TALL WOMEN, and newer plays everyone was talking about, including INDECENT and GLORIA.  I remember asking myself, how can one theatre company sustain this kind of artistic innovation and excellence over so many years? Once I started, I realized just how much work went into each piece of theatre before it reaches our stage. Doug and Sarah create an environment where artists have the freedom to be artistically ambitious, dream big, and see their work realized with complete integrity.

Now that I’ve been working with Sarah, Doug, and the rest of The Vineyard team for ten months, we have had a chance to dig into this question so that we can look beyond our 35th Anniversary together. Our company’s philosophy is structured around staying flexible in how we provide support for artists so that they get what they need, when they need it, and in a way that supports their artistic vision to make excellent work on our stage. Part of this is accomplished through the many behind-the scenes programs we run outside of our three mainstage productions each season. Vineyard activities by the numbers include:

  • 2 residencies at The Vineyard: the annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and biennial Susan Stroman Directing Award
  • 9 public and private readings and workshops produced during the 2016-2017 season
  • 70 students who participated in REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival, a showcase of original work performed by high school-aged students from across the five boroughs and beyond
  • $0 paid by the 650 students at neighboring public schools who take part in our education programs
  • 7 years of The Vineyard’s involvement with the Tepper Semester at Syracuse University, which offers a semester of artistic training in New York City. Together we will launch a playwriting program this coming spring
  • 250+ plays read in one year by The Vineyard literary team

As we look ahead, we aim to grow these programs and introduce new ones, and continue to find new, innovative ways to expand what theatre can be and do. That is why we are excited to work with Audible this season on HARRY CLARKE; after the show closes, Audible will release an audio play of Vineyard’s production to their millions of subscribers. The Vineyard is the first theatre Audible is working with on this unique new project, and we’re excited to make our storytelling available to Audible subscribers throughout the country.

We can’t do this work without the help of our amazing and generous patrons like you. You contributions can be seen in the rain that fell on our stage during Paula Vogel’s INDECENT; in the 14th century pageant wagon hauled across our stage this coming  February by our scrappy theatre troupe in THE AMATEURS; in the faces of the Vineyard Theatre Student Ensemble participants as the curtain goes up at the Broadway shows they attend during our theatre intensives; in the sprung floor that cushions and lifts our dancers in this spring’s THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE; in the changes seen across the four developmental Lab performances of THIS LAND WAS MADE next summer; and in the dramaturgical support given throughout the year to Paula Vogel Playwriting Award winner Antoinette Nwandu during her residency.

The Vineyard isn’t here by chance. We have put not only our heart and soul into the art at The Vineyard, but we have made a home for the artists whose work has challenged your mind and moved your heart. We are proud that The Vineyard continues to produce bold, beautiful work on our stage. Celebrate The Vineyard’s 35th Anniversary with a gift of $135, doubled if you give by December 31, to this Off-Broadway institution.

Thank you for being a part of our community, and we hope to see you back this fall to celebrate another season of bold, risk-taking, adventurous theatre!

With gratitude,

 

 

Suzanne Appel
Managing Director