As the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and new work in equal measure, The Public Theater is dedicated to achieving artistic excellence while developing an American theater that is accessible and relevant through productions of challenging new plays, musicals and innovative stagings of the classics. Conceived nearly 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has served as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force in leading and framing dialogue on important issues of our day. These core democratic values inform all aspects of The Public’s activities.
Toward this effort, The Public continues to be guided by a philosophy of inclusion, which takes on many forms—non-traditional casting of productions, education and development initiatives for artists from diverse backgrounds, outreach to students and audiences throughout New York City's five boroughs, humanities endeavors that provide a social and cultural context for the works we present, and productions that reflect and speak to the issues and interests of our surrounding community. Ticket prices for performances are kept low or free of charge in order to attract a broad audience, and every performance space is ADA accessible, with free sign language-interpreted and open-captioned performances offered during summer productions. The Public's programs also cultivate connections among its many constituencies—between artists and audiences and across ethnicities, ages and experiences. These connections are fundamental to the work of the institution as well as to the development of future artists and audiences, and thus the health of the theater community as a whole.