Commissioning Program


Working Theater commissions new plays about issues of concern to working people. Jason Grote’s Box Americana: A Wal-Mart Retail Fantasia is the most recent example, an entertaining and informative satire of global economics, rabid consumerism and the effects of Big Box retailers on Americans and workers abroad.


We also commission new plays by writers who tell more personal stories from the vantage point of working people, drawing from America’s melting pot of cultures, and amplifying their rich diversity of voice and experience. A grant from New York State Council on the Arts recently allowed us to commission Asbury Park from Mike Batistick (Port Authority Throw Down, Chicken and  Ponies).

Some of our past commissions include Linda Faigao-Hall’s Walking Iron, which addresses homophobia in the workplace, Herman Farrell’sReconstruction, an exploration of race identity set in a psychiatric hospital, and Marty Pottenger’s Abundance, an examination of economic issues that is based on interviews with billionaires and minimum wage workers.

One of the company’s first commissioned plays, OyamO’s I am a Man has been produced at regional theaters across the country including Washington’s Arena Stage and the Goodman Theater in Chicago.


First Stage Presentations

Our 2005 season marked the inauguration of First Stage Presentations, in which we present three plays in workshop form. This program facilitates the development of commissioned pieces and other new works and gives writers the opportunity to develop plays, with a full cast on their feet, director and design team. Each workshop receives a minimal physical production budget, plenty of support and rehearsal time and culminates in one or two weeks of public performances. These presentations are closed to the press, giving the artists the opportunity to cultivate work in a safe, supportive, creative environment.