A theatre Critic’s Manifesto

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Sample Mission Statements

All Mission statements should express (at least) the following:

1) the purpose, 2) what groups it serves, and 3) how it plans to do so

TECTONIC THEATER PROJECT Mission statement (2007)

The company is dedicated to developing innovative works that explore theatrical language and form, fostering an artistic dialogue with our audiences on the social, political and human issues that effect us all. In service to this goal, Tectonic supports readings, workshops, and full theatrical productions, as well as training for students around the country in our play-making techniques.

Tectonic refers to the art and science of structure and was chosen to emphasize the company’s interest in construction–how things are made, and how they might be made differently.  Its groundbreaking plays, THE LARAMIE PROJECT, GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE, and I AM MY OWN WIFE, have sparked national discourse about their subjects and have inspired artists and audiences worldwide.

Mission Statement Theatre NXS, Inc. 2007

To produce works of artistic and social significance with professional expertise and creative passion, developing an audience to support such work, discovering and developing local talent, and establishing a professional theatre in Columbia, MO. (Articles of Incorporation, Article 8(c)). The implications of the sound of the name, “Theatre In Excess,” are intentional. Theatre NXS will not only bring a challenging new voice to Columbia Theatre, it will also expand what “Theatre” means in the community. It will embrace music and dance and a wide variety of live performance. It will seek to draw audience members into their own experience of theatre, one that will be entertaining and rewarding.

Crossroads Theatre Co. Mission Statement

Crossroads continues to lead the nation with its commitment to literary works that examine the African American experience so that it may be understood and appreciated by all people. When co-founders Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson envisioned a space, where, as actors, the two young men could work on substantive, non-stereotypical roles. Little did they realize that their vision would grow into the major institution that it is today. Crossroads has filled an otherwise empty space on the cultural canvas of the country and the world, with a collective body of work that remains unparalleled by any other theater in the nation. Crossroads forged its vision into reality through the development, production and touring of new works from throughout the African Diaspora, and positive imaging of African American life, history and culture. These honest theatrical portrayals helped move the consciousness of the nation forward and into the twenty-first century by building bridges of understanding and veracity between people of all backgrounds in this society and the world.

Split Britches Mission Statement

Split Britches takes its name from a garment worn by Lois Weaver’s ancestors in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It’s an undergarment that is split so the women could pee standing up in the fields. It’s a good metaphor for our work: independent and personal bordering on the private. And it’s funny – you could split your britches laughing! Our work is rooted in popular culture, but positioned against it. It relies on moments rather than plot, relationships rather than story. It depends on the surprise of transformation rather than the logic of conventional narrative. It straddles the line between performance and theatre, exploiting theatricality while exposing the pretence It is about a community of outsiders, queers, eccentrics. It is feminist because it encourages the imaginative potential in everyone and lesbian because it takes the presence of lesbians on stage as a given.

The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory Mission Statement

The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory of New York is a group of individuals assembled without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation or physical limitation. It is a collective of educators, theater workers and artists who have extensively trained and collaborated with Augusto Boal, founder of the Theater of the Oppressed. The purpose of The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory of New York is to provide a forum for the practice, performance and dissemination of the techniques of the Theater of the Oppressed. The Laboratory works with educators, human service and health care workers, union organizers and community activists who are interested in using interactive theater as an organizing tool to analyze, and explore solutions to, problems that arise as a result of conditions brought on by discrimination and injustice in the workplace, school and community.

The Utopian Theatre Asylum Mission Statement

Established in 1995 in Washington D.C., The Utopian Theatre Asylum’s mission is to engage the American audience with relevant theatre that is challenging in both form and content. TUTA devotes its time and space to actors and the human creative process. In addition to their main stage productions, TUTA continues to foster actors’ development through a continuing series of movement workshops. For years, Artistic Director Zeljko Djukic has continued to develop and lead workshop intensives that bring actors out of their comfort zone to foster physical and emotional imagination. TUTA has developed many productions through these workshops, including Emigres, Radovan III, Brecht’s Shorts, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, and Alice.


More info about Preview Articles

A preview article is usually written by a dramaturg or someone else in the Literary Office. Other times it might be written by someone in the Communications Office. Oftentimes these sort of articles are published in an in-house publication sent to subscribers. It is something like a press release but it is intended for an audience that is already interested in the work that the theatre has to offer and they want to know more.


  • This article should introduce the first play of the season and then go deeper.
  • It should be between 700 and 1000 words.
  • It should have a clear voice that attempts to connect to the desired audience of the theatre.
  • It should have a hook, approach or or an “angle” that a particular aspect of this play that will be interesting or relevant to your audience.

ALL Preview Articles must have the following:

  • A brief synopsis of the play (no spoilers!)
  • A discussion of the main characters
  • A  description of the setting and its historical context
  • A brief explanation of why your company is doing this play
  • An introduction to the playwright OR A discussion of prominent themes


“Tartuffe” at the Hartford Stage: https://www.huntingtontheatre.org/articles/tartuffe-articles/Gallery/comedy-from-chaos/

“The Crucible” at Playmakers http://www.playmakersrep.org/salem-mccarthy-and-the-spectre-of-mass-hysteria/



Disney Shows

I was speaking with one of the groups today about the possibility of producing one of the Disney shows (they wanted to do “Lion King”). Many of the musicals produced by the Disney company are NOT available to be licensed. Here is a website that lists the Disney musicals that ARE available:


Looking for plays?


Most Produced plays according to the Theatre Communications Group:

2017-18: http://www.tcg.org/publications/at/attopten.cfm

2018–19: https://www.americantheatre.org/2018/09/20/the-top-10-most-produced-plays-of-the-2018-19-season/

Tony Awards:


Pulitzer Prize:


Search for plays:

Samuel French – many straight plays and musicals: http://www.samuelfrench.com/

Dramatists Play Service – most of the best new plays can be found here: http://www.dramatists.com/

Playscripts, Inc. – more up-and-coming plays/playwrights and lots of variety including plays for youth: https://www.playscripts.com/

Music Theatre international: http://www.mtishows.com/

Tams Witmark – more musicals: http://www.tamswitmark.com/shows/

Plays for Youth



Press Releases

Here are a couple model Press releases:

Berkeley Repertory Theatre


City Theatre