Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 Nominee Announcement Party: A Night (and promise) of Innovation

Dear Reader,

Hello, I am Conor O’Brien, the social media manager for the NYITF for the 2015 award season. On July 20th the New York Innovative Theatre Awards held a party to announce the 2015 nominees. This celebration of Off-Off-Broadway was held at the Diamond Horseshoe, a gorgeous underground venue below the Paramount Hotel.

The energy in the room grew from electrifying to a fever pitch of excitement once the doors opened. As social media manager my role is to cultivate a dialog across various online platforms, to ensure an informative conversation is continued from now thru the awards ceremony in September. Entering this new position I struggled to find the “voice” of the foundation, the core message of the IT Awards. The incredible team of the NYITF has made this transition easy and while I did not want for creative content, I was concerned I would not find a signature voice to share within this wide spread network.

(Which brings us to the night of the nominee announcement party)

As crowds of diverse theatre artists and dedicated patrons entered into The Diamond Horseshoe on a (rather) warm summer evening I quickly found the “voice” I was looking for. What I was looking for was not a singular voice, but was a chorus. There was not a single common thread amongst the talented crowd, say for the innovative spirit upon which this foundation was built (forgive me, even I know that was a lame line).

The ages ranged, the artistic focus varied and the attire certainly held no similarity from table to table. However, all in attendance were here for the same reasons:

  1.  To gawk at the almost unsettlingly attractive wait-staff
  2.  To celebrate the innovative talents of the Off-Off-Broadway community
As I continue to assist with the social media for this awards season, I promise not to focus on the commonality of the nominees but rather celebrate that which makes Off-Off-Broadway unique - our beautiful, weird and innovative differences.

Missed this amazing event? Click here to watch the 2015 NYIT Awards announcements!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Indie Theatre Week

  July 20-26, 2015

The chance for Indie Theatre makers to relax and celebrate the insanity and camaraderie of the creating theatre Off-Off-Broadway. 

Please join us for these super fun events:

MONDAY, July 20

Nominee Announcement Party - Kick of Indie Theatre week by celebrating the 2015 season and party with some of the coolest artists in NYC!

7PM - 10PM @ The Diamond Horseshoe (235 West 46th Street)

FRIDAY, July 24

BoOOBs (Broads of Off-Off Broadway) - Its the Annual Meeting of the BoOOBs. The ladies of Indie Theatre gather to share a drink, a few good laughs and some excellent company. Are you a "broad"? Do you work Off-Off-Boradway? Then join us and BRING YOUR BoOOBs!

4PM til the martini glasses run dry @ 52 Eighth Avenue, NYC.


7th Annual Indie Theatre MidSummer Classic - Join the Indie Theatre all-stars for the annual pickup softball game that answers the age old theatre people do sports? Well, sometimes they do. Beer and wings afterwards to revel in our athletic glory!

3PM @ the Central Park Softball Fields on the Great Lawn (Field 2)!

Friday, May 1, 2015

2015 Honorary Award Applications OPEN

In addition to the production categories, the IT Foundation presents three honorary awards every year at the annual ceremony. These Honorary Awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Off-Off-Broadway community and are selected each year by the Honorary Awards Committee.

Honorary Award Applications are available now online
Due Monday, June 1, 2015 @ 6PM

The Honorary Awards are:

  • The Artistic Achievement Award, presented to an individual who has made a significant artistic contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community;
  • The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award, presented to an Off-Off-Broadway theatre company that consistently produces outstanding work. This award also includes a grant to be used toward an Off-Off-Broadway production.
  • The Ellen Stewart Award, presented to an individual or organization demonstrating a significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support and leadership.

Complete an Honorary Award application TODAY

2014 Honorary Award Recipients:

DONT FORGET TO Submit your

Outstanding Stage Manager Applications
Due in July  2015
Help us recognize your Outstanding Stage Manager.
Read about our previous OSM Recipients

Complete an OSM application TODAY!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Founder's Award

Contributed by Nick Micozzi, Shay Gines & Jason Bowcutt


As you all know, we just finished up our 10th anniversary season. It has been a crazy, but entirely enriching decade. We want to thank all of you who have been a part of this organization. We have watched it grow from an impossible idea to an organization that is that has nearly 60,000 members. And so as we celebrate our first 10 years, we are also looking forward to the next 10 years.

At the Innovative Theatre Foundation, we are all about honoring and recognizing people who have made a big difference to the Indie Theatre Community and recently we had the opportunity to continue a tradition that we started in our first year. We have a very special award called the Founders Award that is given to individuals that the Foundation’s Founders (
Jason, Shay, and Nick) feel have made an extraordinary contribution to the organization. It is not given every year. It is rare, but very meaningful to us.

In our first year, it was presented to Paul Adams, who was a major inspiration and provided some important infrastructure support during our formative years. In our fifth year, it was presented to Akia Squiteri who is a beautiful force within our organization and has given it her heart and soul.

Now in our tenth year we are so excited to recognize someone whose generosity and vision is helping to ensure that our organization will be around for another ten years and beyond.
For several years, there has been a gentleman who has been a huge support to the Innovative Theatre Foundation. In fact, since the 1960’s he has been quietly supporting independent artists, Off-Off-Broadway, the avant garde; giving these artists and companies funding at crucial moments in their development. He has even written a book called the Avant Guardian: A Theatre Foundations Director’s 25 Years Off-Broadway about his experiences in theatre and supporting new, unusual works and experimental ideas.

We were honored to present the Founders Award to a “Fucking Legend” (if you have the chance, ask him about the story behind that moniker), Mr. Donn Russell.

Donn Russell, A Fucking Legend
Photos by Marc Goldberg

We are truly grateful that he has decided to invest in the Innovative Theatre Foundation and is entrusting us to help further his mission.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

IT Foundation Presents Founders Award & Receives Major Funding

New York, NY - At a special event on Monday, January 12, 2015, The Innovative Theatre Foundation (IT Foundation), the organization dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway, announced that they are receiving a major endowment of $200,000 from philanthropist Donn Russell.

Donn Russell receives the Founder's Award
Photos by Marc Goldberg
Over the last half century, Donn Russell has dedicated himself to nurturing the performing arts in lower Manhattan and elsewhere with donations and grants mainly for non-traditional theater endeavors. First as a co-founder and director of the Peg Santvoord Foundation beginning in 1965, which donated seminal aid to a number of the talented individuals and groups who are well known in Off and Off-Off-Broadway circles today. On his own he has endeavored to seek out and provide support to the most gifted experimental innovators in the field. His book, AVANT-GUARDIAN: 1965-1990: A Theater Foundation Director’s 25 Years Off Broadway, attests to it.

“Since today’s protagonists themselves have embraced such far-reaching  technical advances that allow for amazing presentations undreamed of earlier, I encourage them by funding an organization such as the Innovative Theatre Foundation, that is then capable of granting awards- and recognition -to a far broader range of performance-related categories than ever before,” said Russell.

Through the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, the IT Foundation brings recognition to the amazing work being done Off-Off-Broadway. Over the past ten years, the IT Awards has honored over 1,800 individual artists, over 500 productions, and 420 theatre companies.

“We are truly honored that Donn has decided to invest in the Innovative Theatre Foundation and is entrusting us to help further his mission of supporting Indie Theatre,” said Co-Executive Director, Shay Gines.

As a part of the evening, Executive Directors Gines and Nick Micozzi presented Russell with the Founders Award, which is given to individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to the Foundation. “This is a special award that has previously been presented only in our first year and our fifth year and now in celebration of our tenth year we are excited to recognize someone whose generosity and vision is helping to ensure that our organization will be around for another 10 years and beyond,” said Micozzi.

While specifics on how this money will be spent have not yet been made public, the Foundation has confirmed that a portion of the funding will be used for organizational infrastructure and a portion will be passed onto the artists and companies working Off-Off-Broadway. “We have lots of big surprises planned for the next few years,” said Gines.


The Innovative Theatre Foundation is a not-for-profit organization recognizing the great work of New York City's Off-Off-Broadway, honoring its artistic heritage, and providing a meeting ground for this extensive and richly varied community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. They believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and foster greater appreciation of the New York 
theatre experience.

Sponsors: Theatre Development Fund’s Costume Collection, Kampfire Films PR and United Stages

For More Information, press pack, photos, EPK of previous Awards Show, please contact Press Agent: Katie Rosin

Monday, December 29, 2014

What has been the biggest change that you’ve noticed in the OOB community over the last 10 years?

As we wrap up our 10 year anniversary, we asked a few of our friends about their fondest memories of the Innovative Theatre Foundation and the IT Awards.

Blake Lawrence: There has been a tremendous growth in the sense of pride, the variety of the work and a real coming together within the community. When I first moved to NYC and worked OOB everyone was involved in a show OOB but you only went to see other shows if you knew someone. Many more shows were “one-offs” instead of created by companies. The IT Awards helped to acknowledge the tremendous talent that existed OOB and the work of so many companies. It inspired and encouraged younger artists to start their own companies and created a true sense of community and support that was desperately needed.

Daniel Talbott: I think it's just the sheer number of fantastic companies that keep popping up and are out there, and the visibility of their work, which is wonderful.

Desmond Dutcher:
The amazing connections and cross-pollination that have occurred (on the positive side).  The sadly rising cost of rent for venues (on the down side).

I’m sure that I’m not the only one to give this answer, but reasonable spaces to perform work. Venues close their doors every year, and sadly there only seem to be a few “classic” OOBR venues left in NYC.

Jason Bowcutt:
The community has become so strong and proud in self identifying. I remember when we started there was such a dismissive attitude towards Off-Off-Broadway by so many people in the New York Theatre community, that has truly changed. I think people value the freedom to create that OOB offers. I have always said, and I still believe, that OOB is the only place in New York where you can still put yourself completely out on a limb and risk failure without compromising yourself to a bottom line. It is in that place of risk where some extraordinary art can flourish.

Kathleen Warnock: It’s not that it’s getting too big…but that because there are so many more people doing so many different kinds of work, I feel as though sometimes you don’t hear about something until it’s over. That’s for 2 reasons: you can’t know everyone in the scene, and the workshop contract is obsolete (you don’t hear about a show until it’s started selling out and word of mouth has spread and then…poof their can’t extend).

Stephanie Cox-Williams: It seems a lot bigger with a lot more productions than I was ever aware of.

Mariah MacCarthy: One of the biggest changes I've noticed in the OOB Community over the 7 years I've been in New York has been the way we promote and support shows. Each show has its own hashtag now, and if you go to a friend's show and enjoy it, it's becoming more and more of a custom to write about it on Facebook, Twitter, and sometimes Tumblr - or to Instagram a picture of your program when you take your seat. I also see "world-building" becoming more and more of a common marketing tactic (Flux are the grandmaster mack daddies of this), with manufactured newspaper articles, videos, pages from storybooks, etc that continue to tell the story of the play offstage - which you could also call "transmedia."

Shay Gines:
I’ve seen a greater sense of community and collaboration. It is not a bunch of companies working independently from one another, but a community of artists that work together and support one another. I think this change is due in some part to organizations like the Indie Theatre Now, LIT, TRU and the Innovative Theatre Foundation. Also Facebook and online sites like Theasy, NY Theatre Review, Off-Off-Online that are dedicated to the community and help to spread the word about the artists and work that is happening here.

Christopher Borg:
The biggest change that I have noticed is that increasingly OOB and indie artists have realized the importance and impact that their art can make on the community as a whole.  I get the feeling that people understand that they CAN take their art seriously, even in a small venue.  I believe that audiences and critics have picked up on that and taken more notice of this vast and imaginative community.