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Who we are

Since 1955, Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought America’s finest actors, directors, designers, and playwrights to the Berkshires, engaging a loyal audience of both residents and summer visitors. Each WTF season is designed to present unique opportunities for artists and audience alike, revisiting classic plays with innovative productions, developing and nurturing bold new plays and musicals, and offering a rich array of accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS, Late-Night Cabarets, readings, workshops, and educational programs. While best known for acclaimed productions, WTF is also home to one of the nation’s top training and professional development programs for new generations of aspiring theatre artists and administrators. WTF was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2002 and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement in 2011.

Our mission

  • To produce classic and new plays with distinction and verve, and to present artists with production opportunities and challenges seldom available elsewhere.
  • To provide a training program in which emerging theater talents collaborate with accomplished mentors in a vital, professional, and educational atmosphere.
  • To create and present programs that serve and engage a diverse community.

A Brief History of the Festival

During the winter of 1954, Ralph Renzi (Williams ’43), News Director of Williams College, and David C. Bryant, chairman of the College’s active drama program, conceived the idea of using the Adams Memorial Theatre on the Williams College campus for a summer theatre with a resident company.

David Bryant and Nikos Psacharapoulos, 1955

David Bryant and Nikos Psacharapoulos, 1955

They were joined by music professor Irwin Shainman as Treasurer and Louis Rudnick (Williams ’15), chairman of the Williamstown Board of Selectman, who was elected President of the new Foundation—a position he held for 17 years. Robert C. Sprague, President of Sprague Electric, became a leading financial advisor. With the help of the Board of Trade, local businessmen, and town residents, including Cole Porter, Williamstown Summer Theatre—later renamed Williamstown Theatre Festival—was formed with $9,000 in the bank.

Intending to produce ten plays in ten weeks, director Bryant sought out an associate who could direct half the season. On the strong recommendation of the Dean of the Yale School of Drama, Nikos Psacharopoulos was appointed. A 26-member company was assembled from young New York Professionals, Yale actors and alumni, and a few students from Williamstown.

The first season was successful enough for the theatre to plan a second.

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When Bryant left Williams the following year, Nikos became artistic director, and the Festival’s repertory became increasingly ambitious with productions of Shaw, Giradoux, Miller, Williams, and Chekhov. A growing family of actors evolved including Mildred Dunnock, E.G. Marshall, and Thornton Wilder, later joined by the likes of Blythe Danner, Olympia Dukakis, Edward Herrmann, Kate Burton, James Naughton, and Christopher Reeve, whose return year after year gave stability to the Equity company.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Williamstown became known for innovative versions of classics: The Seagull (taped for PBS), Galileo, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Peer Gynt, and The Threepenny Opera. By this time, more than 100 people worked in the theatre every summer. Auxiliary activities began to supplement the Main Stage: the Apprentice Workshop, an experimental Second Company, lively Late-Night Cabarets, Sunday literary events, and new play readings. The 1980s saw some ambitious work, including The Greeks and a two-night celebration of Tennessee Williams with the playwright in residence.

After an extraordinary and visionary 33 years as the head of WTF, Nikos Psacharopoulos passed away in 1989. Following a 35th season dedicated to his memory, run by a troika of Peter Hunt, Austin Pendleton, and George Morfogen, Hunt, named artistic director, gave a new focus to musical theatre and American classics. In 1996, long-time WTF stage manager Michael Ritchie became Producer. During his eight years at the helm, nearly two dozen productions transferred to Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatres across the country. In 2002, Williamstown Theatre Festival received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Ritchie was succeeded in 2005 by Roger Rees, who encouraged new writing and emphasized the importance of the Apprentice in the life of the Festival. Former WTF resident director Nicholas Martin served as artistic director from 2008-2010. In 2011, WTF received the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, the highest cultural honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Former Associate Producer Jenny Gersten led the Festival from 2011-2014. Mandy Greenfield assumed the role of Artistic Director in September of 2014, placing an emphasis on generative work. Many plays developed at WTF have gone on to successful productions in New York and regionally, and in 2018, Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, developed and premiered at WTF, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Through these 65 years, the Festival’s goals have remained constant: to attract top talent, cultivate young artists, produce reinterpreted versions of classics and new plays from gifted playwrights, and to continue to attract audiences with the quality and ambition of our work.

Contact Us

While many questions can be answered by the Festival Box Office at 413.458.3253, here’s how to reach members of the WTF staff.

Box Office (June-August)

Phone: 413.458.3253

Hours (June)
Monday: Closed
Tuesday—Saturday: 10am—5pm
Sunday: 11am—4pm

Hours (July-Aug)
Monday: Closed
Tuesday—Saturday: 10am—8pm
Sunday: 11am—7pm

Williamstown Office (September-May)

PO Box 517
Williamstown, MA 01267-0517
413.458.3200
413.458.3147 fax
wtfinfo@wtfestival.org

NYC Office (September-May)

229 West 42nd Street, Suite 801
New York, NY, 10036-7205
212.395.9090
212.395.9099 fax
wtfinfo@wtfestival.org

Publicity Contact

Rick Miramontez and Alana Karpoff at DKC/O&M Co are WTF’s primary press agent throughout the year.
alana@omdkc.com
212.695.7400
212.695.0876 fax

Staff

In the summer, we have nearly 400 talented individuals working on the Festival.  In the balance of the year, our intrepid full-time staff lays all of the groundwork for the season.

Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director
Courtney Carter, Communications Coordinator
Antonello Di Benedetto
, Director of Audience Engagement, 413.458.3253
Zach Krohn, Director of Professional Training
Aileen Lambert, Assistant to the Artistic Director
Devon Levy, Company Manager
Ken-Matt Martin, Producing Director
Josh Martinez-Nelson, Director of Development & Communications
Amy Russell, Director of Finance
Laura Savia
, Associate Artistic Director
Grace Singleton, Development & Special Events Coordinator
Lindsey Turteltaub, Director of Production

 

Board of Trustees

Jeffrey Johnson, Chairman
Matthew C. Harris, Past Chair
Joe Finnegan, Vice Chair
Annie Pell, Vice Chair/Secretary
Brad Svrluga, Vice Chair
Donald B. Elitzer, Treasurer

Alicia B. Adams
William Bowden
Kate Burton
Rebecca Gold Cellana
Laurence D. Cherkis
Wade Davis
Tom Fontana
James Giddens
Fredda Harris
Todd Jick
Kristen Johanson
Valerie P. Kennedy
Ira Lapidus, Chair Emeritus
Gary S. Levine
Richard Levy, Jr.
Rhon Manigault-Bryant
Elliott Masie
Barbara McLucas
James Naughton
Paul Neely
Katherine Kollath Peabody
Hon. Susan Phillips Read
Olivia Howard Sabine
Katie Hazlett Schmidt
Caren Pasquale Seckler
Alex Volckhausen

Trustees Emeriti

Charles E. Balis
Stephen Birrell
Marge Champion
Michele Moeller Chandler
Douglas Daft
Blythe Danner
Joan B. Hunter
Gwyneth Paltrow
William S. Reed
Jean Kennedy Smith
Jid Sprague
Joanne Woodward

 

The Guild

The Williamstown Theatre Festival Guild is a fun-loving, low-stress, guilt-free group of over 125 volunteers and local businesses. Our purpose is to foster a closer relationship between the community and the over 300 artists and administrators who inhabit our corner of the Berkshires every summer. We make company meals, promote the festival, and provide local knowledge and assistance. Together we hope to create an engaging and memorable experience for all. If you would like to learn more about how you can participate, please email wtfestivalguild@gmail.com.

Find Us

By Phone: 413.458.3200
By Email: wtfinfo@wtfestival.org
By Snail Mail: PO Box 517
Williamstown, MA 01267