The White Blacks, by Melanie Maria Goodreaux, presented as part of TNC’s Resident Theater Program in 2023.

RESIDENT THEATER PROGRAM TNC nurtures and develops writers for the American stage. TNC does only new work – all premiers. It produces a playwright more than once, as the writer gains strength over a period of time. It does full-length plays, many with music and song and choreography. Each year, TNC produces between 20-30 new American plays by both emerging writers, established writers, and theater companies that have no permanent home. Awards for past productions include: the Pulitzer Prize, 43 Village Voice OBIE Awards, 8 Audelco Awards, 2 Bessie Awards, 5 ASCAP Awards, 10 Rockefeller Playwrights Fellowships, The Mayors Stop the Violence Award, the Manhattan Borough President’s Award for Public Service and Artistic Excellence in Theater, and NY City Council Proclamation paid tribute to TNC’s contributions to improving the quality of life in the City by its “rich tradition of bringing theater to people in multi-cultural neighborhoods.”

Through its Resident Theater Program, TNC produces 20-30 new American plays per year, providing a forum for both new and mid-career writers to experiment with their work and develop as artists. The TNC Resident Theater Program produced the New York premiere of Sam Shepard’s BURIED CHILD, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979. Other significant Resident Theater Program productions include GINT, Romulus Linney’s Appalachian adaptation of PEER GYNT, which was the first American play to be accepted in the Ibsen Festival in Norway in 1999; Ron Destro’s HIROSHIMA, which featured original music by Yoko Ono and won the 1997 Kennedy Center Award for best new American play and in 2010, Charles Busch’s play THE DIVINE SISTER, which played to sold-out houses every performance at TNC before moving to an Off-Broadway venue that Fall. For newer writers, TNC offers an Emerging Theater Program that commissions and produces 10 plays by fledgling writers each year.

Formed in 2006, NEW CITY, NEW BLOOD, is division of our Resident Theater program consisting of a staged reading series for worthy plays in earlier stages of development. This series consists of 8-10 plays per year, with readings held monthly. Many plays from this program have gone on to have full productions as part of our Resident Theater Program.

A Healthy House, by Tom Diriwachter, was presented in 2022. This was Diriwachter’s third full-length play presented at TNC since his initial production in 2010 as part of TNC’s Emerging Playwrights Program. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

TNC’S EMERGING PLAYWRIGHTS PROGRAM carefully selects 8 or more plays that are produced each season within TNC’s Resident Theater Program. Its purpose and thrust, since its inception in 1971, has always nurtured and realized the playwrights’ vision through the actual testing ground of production and to establish a nurturing relationship, which invites the author to create new works for the following season.

You may submit scripts here


The Annual Summer Street Theater is a free operetta-for-the-streets that tours 13 locations in all 5 boroughs of New York City. Begun in the early 1970s and embodying the grassroots ideals of that decade, Street Theater aims to raise social awareness in the communities it performs in, creating civic dialogue that inspires a better understanding of the world beyond the communities’ geographic boundaries. Street Theater plays to an estimated 25,000 people each summer.

TNC’s 2022 Street Theater production, “Teacher! Teacher! or, P.S. I Love You.” Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Eduardo Machado’s play, HAVANA JOURNAL, 2004, was presented by TNC in the Spring of 2010, in conjunction with INTAR. 

The Presenting Theater Program is TNC’s vehicle to providing a showcase for performing groups without a permanent base. Each winter, the Presenting Program hosts Bread and Puppet Theater, the oldest continuing experimental theater company in America and the Thunderbird American Indian Dance Concert and Pow-Wow, which offers ritual and social dances from 17 tribes throughout the United States. Notable past Presenting Theater productions include the Yangtze Repertory Company’s 1997 production of BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH, which was the only play by Gao Xingjian ever produced in America before he won the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Each winter, the Presenting Program hosts THE ANNUAL THUNDERBIRD AMERICAN INDIAN DANCERS ANNUAL DANCE CONCERT AND POW-WOW (pictured right) which brings together the ritual and social dances from 17 different tribes throughout the United States. This is the only Native American Dance Concert and Pow-Wow in the East where Native Americans can see the dances of each other’s tribes. Native foods and crafts are sold in the lobby. All proceeds from the Box Office for this event go to the Native American Scholarship Fund.



TNC’s Arts in Education program is the only theater-training program developed specifically to foster communication and self-esteem in at-risk and limited English proficient students. It has served P.S. 20, JHS 64, the Regents Family Shelter and the Catherine Street Shelter, and currently consists of a free 10-week After School Theater Workshop for low-income Lower East Side children with sessions held in the Fall and Spring.



The Community Festival Program is a result of TNC’s strong commitment to the community. Consisting of the Village Halloween Costume Ball and the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, it gives low-income neighborhood residents and curious out-of-towners alike the opportunity to experience some of the artistic diversity of New York City for free. The Halloween Ball showcases over 450 artists and performers at a multi-level theatrical event, with free performances that spill out onto the street. The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts is a free three-day weekend-long extravaganza celebrating the cultural and artistic diversity of the Lower East Side.

THE LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS is an annual celebration of the rich artistic culture and ethnic diversity of this area. For three days over Memorial Day Weekend, TNC produces a cabaret-style festival featuring over 100 performing groups from the Lower East Side. All cultures and disciplines are represented. Saturday afternoon, a Street Fair is held on East 10th Street, which includes food and goods sold by local merchants, and performances by local poets, musicians and performance artists. Inside, there is a children’s program performed for and by students from local schools and a Film Festival running all afternoon and evening. Sunday evening, a Poetry reading is held. This highly anticipated and popular event has grown tenfold since its inception in 1996 and is attended by over 4000 people annually. The purpose of this festival is to unify the community, create a positive image for the Lower East Side, and discover new writing talent. 

THE ANNUAL VILLAGE HALLOWEEN COSTUME BALL is a multi-level theatrical event during which the building’s 30,000 square feet are transformed by sculptors, painters, and scenic designers into a series of Halloween environments and simultaneous performances of every theatrical kind held throughout the building and outside on the street. More than 450 artists and volunteers have an opportunity to showcase their talents in this one night only extravaganza.

ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING CELEBRATION TNC joins forces with the Tompkins Square Park Neighborhood Coalition. Christmas carolers from TNC joins musicians from Third Street Music School to help lead in songs of the Christmas season. This tree lighting has become a bright East Village tradition which touches more and more people each year.

TNC’s extensive Free Ticket Program provides free tickets to participating community organizations throughout the five boroughs. Through our efforts, the performing arts have become a part of the everyday lives of many disadvantaged New Yorkers. Each year, approximately 6,000 free tickets are offered to 100 participating youth programs, senior citizen centers and community organizations, among them Greenwich House for Seniors, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Educational Alliance and Sirovich Senior Center.

TNC’s art exhibitions grew out of the annual art exhibit for the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts and is now a year-round program of curated shows, which was put on the map in 2004 by NY Times art critic Holland Cotter in an article about alternative exhibition spaces in the Lower East Side. With nearly 2000 square feet of available wall space and an alternative audience of theatergoers, TNC has the potential to be a center for the convergence of the visual and performing arts. It is also poised to become one of the largest art galleries in lower Manhattan, with current plans to create a mezzanine level in the TNC lobby to increase its already considerable exhibition space. Previous art exhibits have featured such notable artists as Max Schumann, Marcellus Hall, and Fran Beallor.