HUNTER THEATER PROJECT (HTP) is a resource serving Hunter College and New York City. College-wide in scope, it links productions created by top-rank professional theater artists with the college’s teaching, learning, and research mission, giving vivid expression to subjects across the curriculum.
“We’re delighted to welcome Richard Nelson back to Hunter College,” said Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab. “The Hunter Theater Project is another example of Hunter’s ongoing commitment to the arts. While attending a public university, our students are able to engage in professional productions while learning from our talented faculty in both the intimate Loewe Theater and our new Baker Theatre Building. With this project, Hunter College continues to play a leading role in the cultural life of New York City.”
“I have been inspired by producing my last two Apple Family Zoom plays independently and it has led me to create a new ad hoc theater venture that I am calling An Independent Theater,” said Playwright and Director Richard Nelson. “For the production of What Happened?: The Michaels Abroad I have joined forces with Hunter Theater Project and its producer, Gregory Mosher, with whom I did Uncle Vanya in 2018, continuing my relationship with Gregory that has now spanned more than 40 years. Theater is coming back to New York and I am so pleased that The Michaels Abroad will help welcome audiences and actors back to the stage, and together again in our intimate 74-seat theater.”
a note from producer GREGORY MOSHER
The Hunter Theater Project, which launched with a production of Uncle Vanya, sprang in part from a graduate course I taught at Columbia in which we tried to figure out a better model – not to get too grand, we called it a gizmo - for connecting theater artists and what the theater visionary Peter Brook calls a “willing audience.” Fifty years earlier, a generation of young American producers had created a gizmo that we now refer to, generally, as the not-for-profit theater. It quickly became the norm; it’s hard to imagine an institutional theater without seasons, subscriptions, artistic/managing directors, and large administrative staffs. We thought it would be both fun and educational, even perhaps useful, to imagine a few new possible versions for the 21 century.
In considering what might be attractive to artists and audiences of their generation, my students didn’t find these built-in features especially compelling. Given the variety of work available in most large or even large-ish American cities, there was less inclination to ask audiences to commit to five plays from one theater. We noted that commercial productions are assembled with relatively small teams, and so forth. Above all, my young colleagues felt ticket prices across the board have grown burdensome to not just young people but almost anyone who works in the theater, not to mention the generally less affluent.
The Hunter Theater Project is a modest effort to begin afresh, generating the simplest possible mechanism to support what happens when the audience and artists connect each evening. We’re going to do our best to see that the creators and facilitators are, in Hamlet’s words, well-bestowed, and trust them to do their best. As for audiences, we skipped both the “season” and a formal Membership program. Everyone is in effect a Member of the HTP.
The theater has often advanced because it added things. Electric lights have a distinct advantage over candles. Sometimes, though, we need to try to get back to simpler forms: the daylit theaters of the Elizabethan age, Grotowski’s cauldron, and Brook’s empty space, to name just a few famous examples. These were – and still are in Brook’s case - theaters where talented actors and diverse audiences can collide and connect in a relatively intimate and unadorned space, everyone aware of each other, joined simply by being alive in tumultuous times.
- Gregory Mosher