TDF History

A Timeline of TDF Achievements and Milestones.

Created in 1968 to help an ailing New York theatre industry, TDF now provides support to more than 900 plays and musicals, returning upwards of $2 billion in revenue to thousands of Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway music and dance productions. Here’s a timeline of significant moments and milestones in TDF history:

  • Theatre Development Fund, a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, is founded. Opens temporary headquarters at Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
  • Theatre subsidy program begins with student tickets purchased to The Great White Hope.
  • TDF Membership Program started.
  • Voucher Program for Off-Off Broadway theatre.
  • TKTS Discount Booth opens in Father Duffy Square.
  • Costume Collection opens.
  • Dance Voucher Program.
  • Lower Manhattan TKTS opens on William Street.
  • TDF offices move to 1501 Broadway.
  • Music Voucher Program.
  • Theatre Access Project (TAP) formed.
  • TDF begins National Services to consult with arts organizations.
  • Dance Subsidy Program.
  • TAP presents first Broadway sign-language interpreted performance (The Elephant Man).
  • Society of London Theatres consults with TDF to help them open their "Half-Price Ticket Booth" in Leicester Square.
  • Lower Manhattan TKTS moves to 2 World Trade Center.
  • tdfsightlines, a quarterly newsletter, begins.
  • NYC/ONSTAGE performing arts phone hotline launched.
  • New enlarged Times Square TKTS booth installed in June, celebrating 15 years of TKTS.
  • TDF Travel begins with first package tour to London.
  • TDF begins administration of The Astaire Awards.
  • Spanish language information becomes available on NYC/ONSTAGE.
  • TDF and Juilliard join to launch annual week-long "Interpreting for the Theatre" Institute.
  • A bomb explosion at World Trade Center Feb. 23 closes TKTS Lower Manhattan booth.
    By March 15, it is operating in temporary quarters at Manhattan Savings Bank at 4 W.T.C.
  • TDF Costume Collection launches Irene Sharaff Awards.
  • TDF/Broadway League-sponsored Commercial Theater Institute presents first Robert Whitehead Award.
  • Mayor Giuliani presents citation to TDF honoring 25th anniversary at June 6 Gracie Mansion reception for theatre.
  • Stage Doors Program launched in January as TDF- Lexus Project for Student Audiences.
  • TAP launches Talking Hands Program sending children with mild to severe hearing loss to sign-language interpreted Broadway matinees.
  • TDF creates Residency Arts Project (RAP), a playwriting residency in NYC high schools.
  • TDF website launches.
  • Play by Play (now known as SEEN), a theatre magazine for and by NYC high school students, is first published.
  • TAP presents first open-captioned Broadway performance (Barrymore).
  • TKTS2K Competition to design a new TKTS booth is announced.
  • TDF and Wendy Wasserstein develop Open Doors Program.
  • First London tour for people with hearing loss.
  • TAP open captions performances at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England.
  • Lower Manhattan TKTS destroyed on 9/11, moves to temporary location at Bowling Green Plaza.
  • Lower Manhattan TKTS reopens at South Street Seaport.
  • TAP begins open captioning Off Broadway productions.
  • TDF Costume Collection moves to new space.
  • TAP begins National Open Captioning Initiative.
  • Duffy Square renovation breaks ground.
  • TKTS moves to temporary location outside New York Marriott Marquis.
  • TKTS Downtown Brooklyn opens in MetroTech Center.
  • TKTS returns to Duffy Square in its new permanent location "under the red steps".
  • TKTS offices move to 520 Eighth Avenue.
  • TAP presents audio-described Broadway performance for people with low vision.
  • The new TKTS Booth and revitalized Duffy Square are honored with 10 domestic and international design awards.
  • TDF publishes its first book, Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play.
  • TDF Membership Program launches Off-Off@$9.
  • TDF founds New Audiences for New York Program.
  • TDF and CUNY pilot "BEAT" Program (Bridging Education and Theatre) on four CUNY campuses.
  • Official TKTS iPhone app is launched.
  • TKTS Patron Services Program begins.
  • The Autism Theatre Initiative, a program of TAP, is launched.

  • TDF receives the Mayor's Award for Arts and Culture 
  • TDF's Open Doors program becomes the first arts education program to every receive a Tony honor for "excellence in the theatre."

  • TDF is awarded a New York Innovative Theatre Award for its support of the off-Off Broadway community.
  • TDF received the Lucille Lortel Awards honor for "Outstanding Body of Work" in support of the Off Broadway community.
  • TDF consults with theatres around the country to help them present their first autism-friendly performances.
  • TDF began a research project in conjunction with Theatre Bay Area called TriplePlay to explore the relationship between audiences and new plays.
  • TDF launched PLAYlab, a semi-professional week-long playwriting workshop for select WORDlab students.
  • TDF began an Introduction to Dance program for students in high schools in NYC.
  • TheatreAccess.NYC, a website created in partnership with The Broadway League to highlight theatre accessibility was launched.
  • TKTS opened a fourth booth at Lincoln Center.
  • TDF released the results of a three year research project, Triple Play.
  • TDF partnered with City Council member Eric Ulrich, Chair of the Committee on Veterans, to launch a new pilot program, TDF Veterans Theatregoing Program
  • TDF reached its goal of serving 10,000 students annually in our Introduction to Theatre program.
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