From a cutting-edge downtown season and free Shakespeare in Central Park to outreach programs that connect people across cultural and socio-economic boundaries, The Public Theater unites the people of New York under the banners of radical access and boundless diversity.
Founded by Joseph Papp in 1954, The Public Theater is dedicated to developing an American theater that is accessible and relevant to all people. From its humble beginnings presenting free Shakespeare in public parks, churches, and community centers, The Public has grown to the nation’s foremost producer of Shakespeare and new work. From Free Shakespeare in the Park and the downtown season to Joe’s Pub and the Under the Radar Festival. The Public brings great theater, boldly conceived to the widest possible audience.
This fall, The Public will share seven cutting edge productions downtown, including 4 world premieres, by a diverse group of artists. From a new take on a Founding Father in the world premiere musical Hamilton to the harrowing story of the 1971 Attica riots in Toast, The Public’s five theaters on Lafayette Street will ring with stories as diverse as the city itself.
The Public continues its mission of radical access with Public Works, a new program that brings together New Yorkers in the act of creating theater. This year-round initiative, supported by partner community organizations citywide, engages participants through classes, workshops, and live theatrical experiences, aiming to restore and build community by connecting people through theater.
This September, Public Works will bring together 200 New Yorkers with professional artists to create an ambitious work of participatory theater in an original adaptation of The Winter’s Tale at the Delacorte Theater. With three performances, Public Works truly fulfills founder Joseph Papp’s firm belief that culture is a birthright, creating theater truly of, by and for the people.