American Theatre Wing

by Ayla Harrison

In college I ran across the American Theatre Wing’s website during a research project. It looked like another site spewing artsy fluff about the greatness of the post-WW II culture boom. An online relic of what theatre once was.

Oh man, was I wrong.

Not only has American Theatre Wing become a major web-stop for me—as an artist and teacher—they’ve also got some very relevant news on American theatre.

ATW began in 1917, originally hailed, “The Stage Women’s War Relief”. The “American Theatre Wing” title didn’t stick until 1940, when things really took off. Founders Rachel Crothers and Antoinette Perry began The Tony Awards and started funding scholarships for theatre professionals.  And ATW’s been going strong ever since.

ATW isn’t only about “classic work”. They’re about educating a new generation of talent. So take note: You could get a mini-master-class without having to move from your computer. It all begins with a few simple questions…


Too bad ATW has BOTH video AND radio interviews. BAM. Old school technology meets web innovation.

Downstage Center offers monthly radio interviews with Broadway gurus. DC runs the gamut, doling out advice from today’s top actors, writers, composers and directors. Their latest guest? Mr. George C. Wolfe.

But if you crave a video-based experience the video podcast Working in the Theatre is online too. It’s a series of moderated interviews with not one, but a group, of theatre heavyweights and up-and-comers. In front of an audience, artists highlight how they started working in theatre, career challenges and their work routine. WITT offers panels on casting, design, playwriting, directing, producing, acting, choreography…you name it.

Both programs are available for free download on iTunes or hit up ATW directly.


The National Theatre Company Grants is a new program for emerging theatre companies that have been pumping out important work for at least five years. (Hmm, sounds like a theatre company I know…) Get the specifics here.

If you’re reading this you’re probably familiar with Jonathan Larson’s musical RENT. ATW has a grant in Larson’s name. Through a rigorous selection process young composers have their work screened by a panel of professionals and previous winners. One winner is selected for a reading New York. If you’ve got musical chops, find out more here.

Want information on other grants at ATW? Check it.


SpringboardNYC is an application only program for college-to-career young professionals. An intensive two-week summer workshop in NYC provides students a leg up on the theatre industry.

Already in NYC interning at a theatre and surviving on stale Fruit Loops? Then the Theatre Intern Group is your new BFF. TIG offers social and professional development opportunities for NY theatre interns. It’s ten bucks for a full year of monthly events, Broadway tickets and great networking. Hey, it’s cheaper than a movie ticket.

So next time you’re trolling the net, replaying Very Angry Cat for the tenth time on YouTube, stop off at the American Theatre Wing and learn something about how theatre was, how it is now and where the hell it’s going. Trust me, they know.

Ayla Harrison is a playwright, screenwriter and actor currently residing in Los Angeles. She holds an MFA in playwriting from UCLA.

7 responses to “American Theatre Wing

  1. Thanks so much for your enthusiastic attention to our work online. We’re glad you stumbled upon us and keep coming back for more and we appreciate your letting others know about what he have to offer. Our warm regards to everyone at Boston Court, from all of us at the American Theatre Wing.


  2. Angry Patron (James)

    ATW is awesome! I’ve learned so much from just walking down the street listening to podcast interviews. Howard Sherman’s blog entries are also enlightening. Definitely something more people in the industry should be taking advantage of.


  3. Awesome, informative article!


  4. Excellent article. Thank you for posting.


  5. I just thought they put on the Tony’s…”Oh man, was I wrong.”
    Great post!


  6. What a great article. The pithy sweetness of stale fruit loops. Finally, something to tear me away from that cat. I want a BFF. Very imformative and fun read. Thank you.


  7. Glad I read this. I wouldn’t have known about these great programs otherwise. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s