Teacher James Anthony Phillips introduces
The Ensemble Theatre Company of New York is formed for the charitable and educational purposes of: (1) cultivating and developing the public’s interest in and appreciation for theater by producing high-quality performances of forgotten and retired works chosen based on their ability to engage, inspire, and challenge audiences, without regard for commercial viability; (2) by making these performances available to individuals and communities that lack access to professional-quality theater; and (3) encouraging and cultivating talent in the creation and performance of the dramatic arts.
We plan to focus primarily on production of forgotten and retired works. Each play will be chosen based on its ability to engage, inspire, and challenge the audience, rather than its commercial viability. For example, we chose our inaugural production, “Diversion and Delights,” a retired one-man play, due to its thought-provoking treatment of contemporary political issues including the gay rights movement and censorship.
We aim to set ticket prices below the price typically charged for Off-Broadway productions in order to encourage attendance of individuals who cannot afford to attend professional-quality theater performances at standard ticket prices. In addition, we hope to reach individuals and communities that lack access to professional-quality theater productions by staging at least 10% of our performances free-of-charge at New York City area hospitals, shelters, and public schools. After some performances, we will offer talk-back sessions to allow audience members to engage in discussions with the cast and crew about a variety of artistic and technical aspects of the productions.
We plan to cast acting students and other aspiring actors alongside established, professional actors. This will provide young actors with access to mentors and the opportunity to learn their craft from industry veterans, while building their credentials. We also plan to offer internships for theater students and recent graduates who aspire to work backstage, providing them with hands-on training in all areas of backstage production, including set construction, stage management, lighting design, and sound production.
Acting Lessons and Production Training
We plan to provide high-quality acting lessons and theatrical production training classes in the New York City area. Acting classes will be taught by veteran actors and will focus on classical acting methods. Similarly, production training classes will be taught by industry veterans with many years of theatrical production experience and will provide instruction in a variety of technical production skills, including costuming, lighting, set design and construction, and prop management. All classes will be open to the general public at substantially below-market rates. However, we plan to cater to theater students, young actors, and those pursuing careers in theatrical production by offering reduced tuition rates for these groups.