New Haven Theater Company Makes Its Mark
In a town like New Haven known for its high-profile theaters—Long Wharf, Yale Rep, The Shubert, among them—how can an oh-so-small company find a following?
Now to worry. The New Haven Theatre Company isn’t concerned with competing with—or even one day becoming—one of the big kids. It is perfectly content, thank you very much, with doing its own thing and finding its own fans a handful at a time.
The company was formed about 20 years ago when a group of amateur theater lovers began performing in the back of BAR in downtown New Haven. But for the past 10 years or so, its name has been kept alive by a new collective of about a dozen theater-minded friends—some involved professionally in the arts, and some who are not.
After living a nomadic life in pop-up locations, the ensemble group is now based—thanks to the English Market owners Carol and Robert Orr—in the back of the store at 839 Chapel Street, just east of the Green in a raw space that can house an audience of about 40.
That’s just fine with the small group of ensemble members who collectively produce three intriguing shows a season in the intimate space. It’s a kind of company that’s hard to describe though “salon theater,” “living room theater,” or “chamber theater” might come closest.
“It’s its own kind of animal and it’s managed to exist in this vast theatrical eco-system of New Haven,” says ensemble member Steven Scarpa.
The most recent installment of the company has included several staff members from Long Wharf Theatre, including marketing and communications director Scarpa, associate producer Drew Gray, marketing manager Deena Nicol-Blifford, and Peter Chinot, who is now marketing director at TheaterWorks Silicone Valley and has relocated to California. Other members’ non-arts professions include a scientist, a lawyer, and a businessman.