Tim Sanford, former artistic director of Playwrights Horizons, and Aimée Hayes, former producing artistic director of Southern Rep, have launched The Tent Theater Company, dedicated to providing artistic support, service, and advocacy to American playwrights and cross-disciplinary theater makers over the age of 60. Sanford and Hayes have gathered an eclectic roster of 46 playwrights to articulate for each other, and for the broader community, the problems that late-career writers face.
The Tent Co-Artistic Director Tim Sanford says, “It has been our dream to explore ways to support writers in the totality of their journeys. With this initial cohort, we commit to identifying and combatting ageism in our field while also creating a place for them to call home.”
The Tent Co-Artistic Director Aimée Hayes adds, “We have purposefully kept the number of writers in this original cohort of a manageable size so that as we work and dream together, everyone can be heard. Our hope is to expand as the company’s capacity to serve expands and that our efforts to serve and advocate will come to benefit a much broader collection of writers.”
Sanford notes, “Ultimately writers need productions, and as we grow we are committed to providing production opportunities as well.”
The Tent’s roster of playwrights includes Neena Beber, Neal Bell, Carlyle Brown, Eugenie Chan, Kirsten Childs, Connie Congdon, Kia Corthron, Migdalia Cruz, Nilo Cruz, Rick Dresser, Erik Ehn, Yussef El Guindi, Bob Ford, Kermit Frazier, Amy Freed, Keith Glover, Philip Kan Gotanda, David Greenspan, Beth Henley, Tina Howe, Len Jenkin, Jeff Jones, Sherry Kramer, Quincy Long, Craig Lucas, Wendy MacLeod, Ellen McLaughlin, Eduardo Machado, Emily Mann, Deb Margolin, Cassandra Medley, Marlane Meyer, Kira Obolensky, David Rabe, Theresa Rebeck, Keith Reddin, José Rivera, Eddie Sanchez, Sarah Schulman, Levy Lee Simon, Roger Guenveur Smith, Octavio Solis, Kathleen Tolan, Michael Weller, Richard Wesley, and Doug Wright.
The Tent is partnering with Concord Theatricals to co-produce their Tina Howe commission, Where Women Go, for an invited audience, April 25, 3pm, at 59E59 Theater. Where Women Go is a series of three short one-acts for a diverse cast of women of various ages. These eccentric plays explore the humor and absurdity of women’s daily lives.
In 2022, as the company honed its mission and purpose, it produced readings; in-person and online Tent gatherings; and hosted many zoom chats with playwrights, arts leaders, friends, and big thinkers to explore and understand the specific issues of late-career writers. Also, The Tent worked with FORGENYC through A.R.T./NY’s Theater Admin Consulting program to clarify the company’s values and mission and to develop a three-year goal and budget plan. Joined by an advisory board and a generous group of supporters called “Tent Pegs,” the company has committed to a three-year “pilot plan” for itself with clear objectives it hopes to accomplish.
In 2023, The Tent’s initiatives and projects will include conducting a nationwide survey of theaters to collect data about aging artists and art-making; continuing to produce readings for the playwrights; hosting monthly writers’ groups; offering financial and healthcare education seminars; presenting public sharing of the writers’ work; and advocating for theaters to include elders in their seasons.
For more information, please visit thetenttheater.com.