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Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater

History of The Powerhouse Theater

Powerhouse Theater has been committed to the development of new plays and young artists since its inception. For the first season in the summer of 1985, Powerhouse produced three play readings and three mainstage productions, including Savage in Limbo written by the then relatively unknown John Patrick Shanley.

For the next several years, the size and scope of the Powerhouse season grew, incorporating screenplays and play workshops into the season. In 1989 Powerhouse produced the premiere production of the highly acclaimed, Tony Award-winning Tru by Jay Presson Allen.

The Powerhouse season continued to grow throughout the 1990s, with upwards of 20 productions being mounted each summer. The 1990s also saw the inclusion of musical theater, notably Beth Henley’s Revelers in the summer of 1994.

By the 2000s, Powerhouse had developed the reputation of being a safe haven for playwrights, directors and actors, with many returning summer after summer. Each season familiar faces like Theresa Rebeck, Joanna Murray Smith, Josh Radnor and Steve Martin, have come together with relatively new artists such as Ayad Akhtar and Stephen Karam to create a season of new work that goes on to shape the landscape of the American theater.

Coinciding with the professional season since the creation of the partnership has been The Powerhouse Theater Training Program, a rigorous conservatory style training program for young actors, directors and writers. Much like the professional company, The Training Program has expanded over the years, nearly tripling in yearly enrollment since it’s inception. Each year the Training Company present a season of work, often classic in nature, but has also included the development of new work, notably Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Leah Ryan's adaptation of The Seagull, and Caridad Svich's 12 Ophelias.