Artistic Programs

In addition to its downtown season at The Public Theater at Astor Place and the uptown season of free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater, The Public has created a number of programs to make new work accessible to broader audiences. The Public Lab, now in its seventh season, provides audiences with access to Shakespeare and new work with tickets starting at $20. Emerging and established artists gain a platform to further develop their work on stage and in performances with scaled-down productions that allow audiences and artists to engage with one another in the process of making theater. New Work Now! allows audiences an opportunity to experience new work by a diverse selection of established and emerging theater artists in a series of free readings open to the public. The Public also presents Under the Radar, an annual festival of new theater from around the world. A gathering space and venue for emerging and established musical artists, Joe’s Pub provides another opportunity for the public to engage with live performance at The Public Theater.

Audience Outreach Programs

Following in the vision of The Public’s founder, Joe Papp, to bring Shakespeare to all parts of New York City, the Mobile Shakespeare Unit has toured professional Shakespearean productions throughout the five boroughs beginning in 1954, providing free access to underserved constituencies—including those at homeless shelters, prisons, and centers for at-risk youth.  The Public Forum is a high-profile series of lectures, debates, and conversations exploring issues framed in The Public’s stage productions. Now in its fourth season, the Forum features leading voices in politics, media, and the arts. Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Cynthia Nixon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sam Waterston, and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman have hosted its programs, which have featured the insights of Kurt Andersen, Carl Bernstein, David Brooks, Arianna Huffington, Bill Irwin, Tony Kushner, Suzan-Lori Parks, Francine Prose, Stephen Sondheim, and young veterans of the war in Afghanistan. The Public Theater has also launched Public Works, a program that develops new works of theater by bringing professional artists from The Public Theater to community-based organizations around the New York City area. 

Artist Training Initiatives

The Public has a deep legacy of supporting artists at every stage in their careers, through programs like the Emerging Writers Group, which targets playwrights early in their careers, creating an artistic home, support, and resources for a diverse group of up-and-coming playwrights. The Public Theater has also developed a number of programs to immerse young people in Shakespeare. Designed by arts-in-education specialists, A Midsummer Day’s Camp is a conservatory-style Shakespearean acting program that provides teens with the opportunity to hone their craft and expand their skills with some of the most respected figures in American classical theater training.