Our mission is to reinvigorate and create audiences for the theatre by presenting all-free productions of popular classics and forgotten masterpieces in public spaces throughout New York City.
NY Classical firmly believes that everyone—regardless of social, economic, or educational level—should have the opportunity to experience live professional theatre. Through the lens of classical theatre, we come to better understand human nature and our role in contemporary life. As a result, our all-free, engaging performances in approachable space build new and future audiences.
Since 2000, New York Classical Theatre has presented over 700 free performances for nearly 250,000 New Yorkers. We have produced extensively in non-traditional settings: outdoors in Central Park, The Battery, Governors Island, Rockefeller Park (Battery Park City), Carl Schurz Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park and indoors in Brookfield Place, One Liberty Plaza, and One New York Plaza—and more.
By adapting plays for public spaces, we have emerged as an innovative and unique addition to the City's theatrical landscape. Our 2013 production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull transformed the northwest corner of Central Park into a 19th-century Russian country estate, and the Governors Island parade grounds played the role of Agincourt for our 2011 production of William Shakespeare's Henry V (with a cast & crew of 50).
By producing at zero cost to our audiences, we reach a broad demographic of our urban community, and serve as an important cultural and educational programing resource for our venues. For example, our 2006 presentation of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart was the first play performed at Castle Clinton National Monument in 100 years, and our production of The Tempest in 2013 re-opened the Castle after the flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
To date, we have staged 42 all-free productions by classical playwrights including Shakespeare, Molière, Chekhov, Aphra Behn, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, George Farquhar, Friedrich Schiller, Pierre de Marivaux, and Alfred Jarry.
NY Classical has received much critical acclaim in the media. The New York Times declared us "a movable feast! All the park's a stage!" The Washington Post’s Peter Marks called our 2018 production “a wonderful way to can claim Shakespeare for new audiences and rekindle it for the more familiar.” PBS Thirteen NYC-ARTS, WABC Eyewitness News (Sandy Kenyon), Fox 5 News, WNBC, [CW11 Morning News] NY1 News, WNET, WNYC, and Good Day New York have run wonderful features on our productions. We have also been seen in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out-New York, TheatreMania, New York Daily News, The New York Observer, The New York Sun, New York Post, Huffington Post, Deadline Hollywood, The Boston Globe, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, El Mundo, BackStage, Downtown Express, New York Family Magazine, and many more.
For information on our budget and demographics, click here.
For a list of our generous supporters, click here.