about step1: 

our mission

Step1 Theatre Project believes in a more equitable theatre landscape that is fostered from the bottom up. In New York City, theatre spaces are closing, festivals are shutting down, and funding opportunities are gradually becoming more scarce. This often means the artists who are able to make a successful living from their craft in NYC are just a tiny percentage of the practicing artists in the area. Rather than giving up as the variables become increasingly challenging, Step1's answer is in our tagline: Artists Supporting Artists. We create spaces for underrepresented voices of NYC's independent theatre scene to assemble in support of each others' work, we produce their pieces, and we offer an accessible developmental pipeline. Together, we can navigate through the socioeconomic barriers that make the creative process more challenging. 

Our vision for an equitable landscape informs our mission:

Amplifying the voices of underrepresented independent theatre artists by producing their works and offering accessible developmental opportunities. 

company history 

Based in NYC, Step1 Theatre Project was co-founded by Jazmyn Arroyo & Janelle Zapata Castellano in February 2016. The pair met as theatre students in 2010 at Rutgers-NJIT and have been working together since. Having experienced challenges along their artistic paths, the pair have committed to creating an artistic organization that recognizes unique challenges experienced by artists of color, female-identifying artists, queer creatives, and other marginalized groups. To quote one of the founders, "We wanted to create the company we needed when we were students." 

While fundraising for their company's premiere production, Benjamin-Ernest Abraham quickly joined the team inspired by the company's mission and is now leading Artist Support programs. To quote Ben, who was just getting himself settled into the NYC theatre scene,  he affirmed "Step1 was the company I needed." The company has grown by 2 more team members since Ben, two Board members have joined, and the entire team is still growing.

In the first four years of its short history, Step1 Theatre Project has had the honor of producing three full plays, three collections of short plays, one staged reading, one Off-Broadway Hurricane Relief benefit, four company fundraisers, two free workshops, and six free cold readings. Throughout these productions and events, Step1 has also had the privilege of enjoying their first milestones: eight award nominations and seven awards from NYC theatre festivals, one near-sold out performance run, one sold-out Off Broadway benefit, recipients of the 2017 & 2018 Con Ed Bright Ideas Grant at LMHQ, recipients of the 2019 A.R.T./New York Nancy Quinn Fund, and recipients of the 2019 LIT Space grant. In order to grow current programming and increase their impact, Step1 is actively seeking more viable funding opportunities. If we want to help artists overcome the challenges of creating in New York City, our next immediate goal is to create a sustained presence for them. 

 

  the team

FOUNDING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

JAZMYN ARROYO

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JANELLE ZAPATA CASTELLANO

FOUNDING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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BENJAMIN-ERNEST ABRAHAM

DIR. OF ARTIST DEVELOPMENT

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ASHLEY LAUREN ROGERS

LITERARY MANAGER

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DAVID ORTEGA

YOUTH OUTREACH & PROGRAMMING

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THE BOARD

 
 
 
 

© Step1 Theatre Project 2019

 

Step1 Theatre Project is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas. S1TP is a proud member of: A.R.T./New York, the League of Independent Theatre, and Materials for the Arts.

 

This season has been produced with help from A.R.T./New York's 2019 Nancy Quinn Fund.