EST. 2009

Who We Are

The Shelter is more than a theatre company. We are a community. The core of our community is our weekly Shelter Sunday workshop— the creative home to some of theatre’s most exciting writers, directors and actors. Shelter Sunday is a vibrant and galvanizing playground for our artists. It breeds collaborations and creative collisions, and it’s also the epicenter for our play development and production process. Since 2009, Shelter Artists, along with our all-volunteer staff, have created and staged over 100 world premieres.



It all started in a basement. Four friends—artists who just wanted to create—decided to form a workshop so that they could do just that. The very first meeting of “Shelter Sunday,” as the workshop is now affectionately (and officially) called, was held in the basement of the Gene Frankel Theatre on Sunday, January 4, 2009. This weekly workshop continues today. The first participants included founding members Emily Robin Fink, Meghan E. Jones, Michael Kingsbaker and Dave Lankford.

In 2009, the owner of the Gene Frankel Theatre offered members of The Shelter an opportunity to use the theater’s main stage for a weekend. As an experiment, the members decided to produce a two-night performance. The production, 3:56 AM, explored the lives of several Lower East Side residents between the hours of 3 and 4 AM. The show included nine original shorts, each written, directed and acted by members of The Shelter. Due to the success of 3:56 AM, the members decided to stand-up the producing arm of the company with a singular focus: wholly original works. In 2011, the company formally incorporated in the state of New York as The Shelter NYC, Inc. and continues to develop and produce theatre for the New York stage.

  • That might be the most amazing thing to witness. To watch someone do something they have never done in front of other artists. We are all there to support each other and help each other take those leaps. And then there’s the feeling I have when I see a group of artists find the life, the vibrancy, the sound of nature in a scene, a monologue, a play that we can’t do on our own.

    Paco Lozano, Shelter Artist
  • An intelligent, fearless, creative group of multi-talented, multi-faceted, caring, humble individuals who enhance the NYC theatre community.

    Danielle Beckmann, Shelter Artist
  • I really love the idea of being part of a group like this. I remember once researching the origins of the Pre-Raphaelites, the Victorian art and literary movement. I was expecting some very serious, academic story, but it turned out that they had dubbed themselves 'the Pre-Raphaelites' on their own, and that they signed their letters with the secret code 'B.P.R.'——for Brotherhood of the Pre-Raphaelites. I remember thinking, 'Wait——you mean this art movement was just a bunch of friends making up a name for themselves and writing to each other in secret code?' But I’ve realized that a lot of important art starts with a bunch of friends making up a name for themselves and writing to each other in secret code. The Shelter is like that, except that they open up the club for anyone to join. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they become an important force in New York theater.

    Rachel Carey, Shelter Artist


Executive Director