artistic board of directors

 
Smith Street Stage, Artistic Board of Directors, Jonathan Hopkins, Hannah Sloat, Joby Earle, Katie Willmorth, Jessica Lane Weiss, Michael Hanson, Beth Ann Hopkins, Patrick Harvey, Corey Whelihan, Allie Grant, Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy

Smith Street Stage, Artistic Board of Directors, Jonathan Hopkins, Hannah Sloat, Joby Earle, Katie Willmorth, Jessica Lane Weiss, Michael Hanson, Beth Ann Hopkins, Patrick Harvey, Corey Whelihan, Allie Grant, Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy

 
 

About

Starting with a five actor adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in 2010, Smith Street Stage has always looked for new ways to tell classic stories. Since that inaugural production, the Company has grown to hiring over 40 artists a year, performing for thousands of audience members, receiving New York Innovative Theater Awards across multiple seasons, and bringing full productions of critically acclaimed shows to theaters throughout the city. We believe that easily accessible productions of plays produced at a high artistic level can transform audiences’ relationship with great literature and enrich their sense of humanity.

The Company’s foremost principle is that classical texts are not elitist, and that an expert production will be deeply meaningful and broadly accessible. Our artistic choices aim to close any perceived distance between the source material and our audience. In rehearsals we focus on the human event of each scene, rooting each actor in the recognizable and sympathetic humanity of the play’s people. Focusing on relatable human dilemmas renders these works accessible to everyone without diminishing their complexity. 

We began Smith Street Stage believing we could demystify the classics. Over ten years we’ve achieved a loyal audience, found broad public support, and developed a specific way of rehearsing and crafting our shows. We hold every confidence that our work will continue to distinguish us as a distinctive and important theatrical voice, and invite you to be a part of our growing community.

 

Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy, Director of Community Services

Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy, Director of Community Services

Joby Earle, Casting and Marketing Associate

Joby Earle, Casting and Marketing Associate

Allie Grant, Company Manager

Allie Grant, Company Manager

Patrick Harvey, Director of Media

Patrick Harvey, Director of Media


Michael Hanson, Director of Development

Michael Hanson, Director of Development

Beth Ann Hopkins, Artistic Director

Beth Ann Hopkins, Artistic Director

Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director

Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director

Hannah Sloat, Special Events Coordinator & Casting Associate

Hannah Sloat, Special Events Coordinator & Casting Associate


Jessica Lane Weiss, Casting Director

Jessica Lane Weiss, Casting Director

Corey Whelihan, Grant Development Associate

Corey Whelihan, Grant Development Associate

Katie Willmorth, Associate Artistic Director

Katie Willmorth, Associate Artistic Director

 

A letter from Executive Director Jonathan Hopkins

It seems every generation faces a version of the same story: a conflict in which the marginalized are emboldened to address injustice and, to put it simply, have their humanity acknowledged. This movement provokes an inevitable backlash as people rush to defend the status quo, often with vigor and even vitriol. In all its social and political complexities, the struggle to me centers on a fundamental question: who deserves our regard and sympathy?

Against the temptations of selfishness and apathy, we are forced to examine how to bestow greater respect for the humanity of others, and how to contribute meaningfully to that progress. I believe, firmly, in the power of theater to help, and I believe it happens in several ways.Actors are trained to approach characters without judgment, to explore them with sensitivity and sympathy. The very act of making theater begins by bridging differences with curiosity and openness. In building a play, the actor constantly reinforces that those who may be different, even vastly different, are nevertheless relatable and deserving of our care.

If the artists are earnest and diligent in their work, the production will present a world with complexity and nuance in which easy answers are scarce. Characters are confronted with impossible choices and pushed to the edges of their ken. As we, the audience, witness the story, we imagine how we ourselves might act in the face of such circumstances. In doing so, our empathy and regard for possibility stretches. Our sense of the possible heightens, and our capacity for compassion strengthens. The distance narrows between us and the other.

Lastly, theater is inescapably communal. We watch, aware that as we sit among a diverse group of strangers with manifold differences, we share an experience. The theater literally brings people together. More so, it confronts us with the riddles of human struggle. Our answers, with our sympathies, may differ, but we are nevertheless aware that we have all been posed the same questions. The very relevance of those questions to us all testifies to our inherent companionship in the shared human experience and, I believe, a recognition in the humanity and value of everyone.

It is in this spirit that Smith Street Stage endeavors to create the best quality and most impactful art we are capable of.

Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director

Artistic Board of Directors

Artistic Board of Directors

MISSION

Smith Street Stage seeks to tell classic stories in new ways through affordable, exciting and consequential theater arts. The Company holds that universally recognizable and deeply human conflicts inhere in great literature, and by exploring such texts with rigor and creativity, one may apprehend these truths and reveal anew their relevance to our lives. Such stories presented skillfully and earnestly have the power to engage philosophical issues, excite spectators of all backgrounds and predispositions, and bring communities closer.

Leadership BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Wendy Bellus

Gary Dolan

Beth Ann Hopkins

Jonathan Hopkins

Glenn Kelly

 

Board Emeritus

Danielle Cantor, Mary Cavett, Ruark Downey, Beth Jastroch, Joyce Yu