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TDF'S Open Doors program renamed TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project in honor of its founder, Wendy Wasserstein, as 23rd year completed for TDF's school programs.

Date: Jun 13, 2019


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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 TDF Wendy Wasserstein Proejct 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 participated in the program. 

A more detailed summary of TDF’s School Programs follows:


TDF Introduction to Theatre since 1995

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

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 1995

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 after school 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.  


TDF is a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. Founded in 1968, TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging and cultivating a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance.

TDF fulfills its mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts. Best known for its theatregoing programs (including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths and TDF Membership Programs), TDF’s accessibility (including open captioned, audio described and Autism Friendly performances), school (serving over 12,000 New York City student annually), community engagement and information programs — as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs — have introduced millions of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to:

TDF gratefully acknowledges these major donors for their support of TDF's School Programs:

Helene and Ilene Berger, Al Berr, Lisa and Edmund Cohen, The Cornelius N. Bliss Memorial Fund, Chengzhong Culture and Education Focus Foundation, Con Edison, Continental Grain Foundation, HBO, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, Angela and Scott Jaggar Foundation, Phyllis Kubey, Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, New York City Council – Corey Johnson, Speaker, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, The Pinkerton Foundation, Marc Platt, Purple Plume Foundation, The Rudin Foundation, Thomas A. and Georgina T. Russo Foundation, Sarah Saltzberg, Scenery Bags, The Shubert Foundation, Merrill and Andrew Silver, Sony USA Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman, The TJX Foundation, Earl D. Weiner 
These programs are supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

TDF’s School Programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.