Three Theatres Join NJ Theatre Alliance | New Jersey Theatre Alliance

Three Theatres Join NJ Theatre Alliance

  • From left: Heather Wahl of Speranza Theatre, Steve Steiner of Surflight Theatre, and Meredith Burns of Art House Productions.
    From left: Heather Wahl of Speranza Theatre, Steve Steiner of Surflight Theatre, and Meredith Burns of Art House Productions.

MORRISTOWN, NJ (June 25, 2018) – New Jersey Theatre Alliance (“the Alliance”) announced that Surflight Theatre of Beach Haven, Art House Productions of Jersey City, and Speranza Theatre Company of Jersey City have joined the other 31 professional, producing theatres of New Jersey as members of the Alliance. Founded in 1981, the Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey.

“We are thrilled to welcome these exceptional theatres to our ranks,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We are happy to see Surflight back in business, bringing more professional theatre to the mix of summer activities on the Jersey Shore. Art House Productions has been an integral part of Jersey City’s thriving cultural community, producing diverse works in the performing arts including a mainstage theatre series. Speranza Theatre’s focus on women artists will help bolster equity and inclusion, which is a core value of the Alliance.”

Founded in 1950, Surflight Theatre was a beloved Shore icon for 65 seasons before it closed in the early 2015. The theatre reopened in 2017, and has been producing several mainstage shows, as well as booked-in concerts and comedy shows, from June to September.

“Membership in New Jersey Theatre Alliance says that we are professional theatre,” said Surflight’s Producing Artistic Director Steve Steiner. “When we re-opened last season, my first call, before doing a press release about our plans to re-open, was to John McEwen at the Alliance, letting him know we were opening and to get help and advice in how to put our best foot forward. It's important for all of the professional theatres in New Jersey to band together, as the rising tide lifts all boats. The Alliance gives us some additional oars. There truly is strength in numbers. We all can help each other.”

Art House Productions sprang from the desire to connect a devastated community through art and dialogue after September 11th, 2001. Since then, Art House has established itself as a pioneer of artistic and cultural programming in Hudson County. In addition to theatrical productions, it offers dance, comedy, visual-arts exhibits, classes, and more.

“For the past 17 years Art House Productions has been a vital home for the visual and performing arts in Hudson County,” said Meredith Burns, Executive Director. “We are beyond delighted to join the Alliance and its family of great theatre organizations. Our mission is to celebrate the essential power of the arts to illuminate humanity, to provide arts education in support of lifelong learning, and to present highly intentional work from emerging and under-recognized artists. With the support of the Alliance we can fully realize that mission. We couldn't be more thrilled to take this next step forward.”

Founded in 2008, Speranza Theatre Company is a women’s theatre company based in Jersey City. It takes a collaborative approach to story-telling which centers on women’s issues and provides opportunities for women to share their voices.

Heather Wahl, Artistic Director of Speranza, remarked: "One of the most humbling aspects of being admitted as a member of the Alliance is knowing membership is voted on by a board of our peers. Being accepted as members of the Alliance feels like we are on the right track as we continue to expand this new company. Speranza is grateful to have this tremendous support from the NJ theatre community."

New Jersey Theatre Alliance unites, promotes, strengthens, and cultivates New Jersey’s professional theatres. It advances the theatre community by developing innovative, collaborative, and engaging programs and services for member theatres and their diverse audiences. It also produces public programs such as the annual Stages Festival and NJArtsTix, an online discount ticket service. Its member theatres are both large and small with a wide variety of repertoires, each a fully functioning business that pays its staff and artists (designers, technicians, directors, and actors). Through their programming, these theatres inspire, challenge, and entertain about one million theatre-goers annually, and enrich communities through outreach programs and arts education. For more information, visit njtheatrealliance.org.
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