TDF Open Doors Program Renamed TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project In Honor Of Its Founder

TDF Open Doors Program Renamed TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project In Honor Of Its Founder

TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts has just completed its 23rd year of school programs with the end of the 2018-19 school year. This year, 12,300 students from nearly 200 schools were served through a variety of programs for public school students in New York City at no cost to either the students or the schools. Additionally, at last week's TDF Open Doors graduation, (a program founded in 1998 which was the first arts education program to receive a special Tony Honor for Excellence) the program was renamed TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project, to honor the late playwright who founded the program with TDF.

"TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project celebrates Wendy's vision of having accomplished theatre professionals take small groups of students to the theatre, meeting afterward, and chatting over a meal-a simple yet eloquent way to celebrate the joy of live theatre," said Ginger Bartkoski Meagher, Director of TDF Education Programs. "As a group, they get the chance to investigate what is meaningful, personal, and lasting about attending live performance. Amazing students and mentors journey together through a season, inspiring one another, and learning about the world as it's reflected through the art, and through each other. Renaming this program was a perfect way to cap an incredible year of TDF's programming for thousands of students, most of whom have never seen a live theatrical performance."

TDF's programs for students in addition to the TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project are: Introduction to Theatre, TDF Young Playwrights Programs, TDF Accessibility Program for Students, and TDF Introduction to Dance, as well as special Summer Teacher Seminars that have been accredited by NYC's Department of Education for their teachers.

The graduation ceremony on June 3 was attended by mentors James Lapine, Kathleen Marshall, Kathleen Chalfant, Aubrey Lynch, Scott Ellis, Derek McLane, among others, in addition to over 300 current students and graduates who have participated in the program. A celebratory video of the program was unveiled that may be seen at:

Detailed summary of TDF's School Programs


TDF Introduction to Theatre since 1996

For over two decades, TDF Introduction to Theatre has provided over 100,000 middle, high school and college students with a meaningful welcome to live performance. Students receive a total of eight in-class workshops pre and post-performance workshops from TDF Teaching Artists who work directly with their classroom teachers.

This past year: 10,300 students, 157 schools, 207 teachers, 400 classrooms, 3,000+ individual workshops

TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project since 1998

In 1998, Wendy Wasserstein and TDF wanted to see if theatre was relevant to young people. We took eight high school students to see six shows in a season and afterwards had pizza and talked.

Today that experiment has blossomed into 24 groups annually. Top theatre professionals share their time and expertise with students throughout the five boroughs. Together they see hundreds of shows a year and come together for post-performance discussion.

This past school year: 192 students, 24 schools, 24 teachers, 28 mentors, 144 shows

TDF Young Playwrights Programs since 1996

TDF Young Playwrights is a series of sequential playwriting programs for middle and high school students. We ignite the spark for young storytellers.

The TDF Young Playwrights' Residency Program is a year-long collaboration between TDF and schools. Together, we explore live performance as students craft original works that are shared as staged readings Off Broadway.

This past school year: 700 students, 10 schools, 15 teachers, 27 classrooms, 646 individual workshops

The TDF Young Playwrights' Summer Program is a two-week playwriting intensive that is open to Tri-State area high school students. We welcome those with a curiosity about playwriting to apply.

This past school year: 12-15 students, 2 weeks of master classes

The TDF Young Playwrights' Group Program is a year-long afterschool playwriting workshop for high school students who have been a part of the residency or summer programs. The group meets weekly to write, see and experience playwriting. Their work is showcased each June with professional actors in an Off Broadway theatre.

This past school year: 12-15 student members, 24 individual workshops

TDF Accessibility Program for Students

TDF Accessibility Program for Students provides simultaneous open-captioned and sign language interpreted performances for students who have severe hearing loss or are deaf at special matinees of Broadway shows as well as audio described performances for students who have low vision or are blind. These students also are provided in-class workshops prior to attendance at their schools.

This past school year: 775 students attending TDF Open Captioned/American Sign Language Interpreted performances; 110 students attended TDF Audio Described performances.

TDF Introduction to Dance

TDF Introduction to Dance gives students the opportunity to see live dance and attend workshops led by professional dancers and choreographers.

This past season: 180 students, 6 schools, 6 teachers

TDF Summer Teacher Seminars

TDF's professional development series consists of week-long summer seminars in partnership with the Department of Education on specific theatre practices for NYC public school teachers who are pursuing professional credits.

Photo: Wendy Wasserstein with the first group of students from DeWitt Clinton High School who participated in the Wendy Wasserstein Project (formerly named Open Doors) at the end of the school 1998-99 school year. (Photo by Anita and Steve Shevett)

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