Founded in 1985, the Working Theater's mission is to produce plays for about and with working people (the majority of Americans working in the industrial, transportation and service industries.) In a nation that is frequently divided by cultural and class distinctions and where economic disparity continues to widen, Working Theater is committed to making theater that can bridge those divisions, expanding the reach of theater’s impact to all people, uniting us in our common humanity.

TheaterWorks! is a program of Working Theater, New York's only off-Broadway theater company dedicated to producing and creating plays for, about and with working people. Developed in response to a desire among Working Theater's constituency to become involved in the creative process, TheaterWorks! is an adult education program that teaches performance and writing skills to working people. In each sixteen-week class, students write and rehearse short theatrical pieces based on their work experiences, and ultimately perform them alongside theater professionals in an off-Broadway theater before an invited audience. 

In 2018, Working Theater is proud to partner with Kathlene McDonald and the Labor of Care project at CUNY, with the support from the Mellon Foundation, to offer TheaterWorks! to members of Professional Staff Congress and District Council 37 in a special program designed to explore the realities of working while also caring for disabled and/or aging relatives. These workers represent a variety of CUNY employees, from professors to associate professors, to building caretakers and custodians, to administrative assistants. The TheaterWorks! program is overseen by Educational Instructor Joe White and Working Theater Producing Artistic Director Mark Plesent.

Since its inception in 2001, TheaterWorks! has served workers at District Council 37, Transport Workers Local 100, Social Services Employees Local 371, Building Service Employees Local 32BJ, Communication Workers of America Local 1180 Retirees, Cornell University’s School of Industry and Labor Relations. and to members of UNITE! employed by Amalgamated Life Insurance.

CWA, Local 1180 TheaterWorks! final performance 2017, photo by P. Kevin O'Leary


Seminars & Working Groups