Mission and History
Adirondack Theatre Festival (ATF) is a professional not-for-profit summer theatre located in Glens Falls, NY. ATF strives to challenge, entertain, and nourish its audience through the development and production of new and contemporary musicals and plays. This relationship engages the community as audience members and participants in workshops, discussions, and educational programming.
What We Do
Each summer ATF produces a six week season of theatre for an audience of more than 6,000 using professional artists from New York City and across the country. ATF operates under a Small Professional Theatre Agreement with Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and 100% of the actors in its productions and readings are professional actors. A typical six week summer season includes three mainstage productions, a new play/musical workshop and a late night slot for cabaret and more adventurous productions. ATF is the only professional summer theatre in the Capital District, Saratoga and Adirondack regions of upstate New York solely committed to producing new and contemporary works of theatre. Two things separate ATF from other summer theatres in our region:
- Fresh Experiences. The plays and musicals presented on ATF’s stage are never older than five years old. This guiding principle provides audiences productions of recent hit shows from NYC as well as the latest scripts from established and emerging writers. It is a theatre experience that reflects the way we live now.
- Hand Crafted. ATF productions are original works crafted specifically for our audiences by some of the most established professional theatre artists in the country. The actors on our stage are all members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors. They have worked regularly on and off-Broadway, on television and in movies. The same goes for the directors and designers.
ATF’s Founding and The Wood Theater
When a group of 20-something theatre professionals, spearheaded by David Turner, Martha Banta and David King, decided to found a summer theatre, they wanted to take “the road less traveled” and focus on new work. Theatre professionals advising the founders told them that such a concept would never fly since to survive summer theatres must produce big name musicals and lighter fare. The founders held true to their vision and today ATF is preparing for its 20th season and still holding true to its mission.
ATF’s first season in 1995 was produced at the Lake George RV Park. The next summer the company moved into an abandoned Woolworth’s five and dime on Glen Street and proceeded to change the face of downtown Glens Falls with the renovation of that space into the Charles R. Wood Theater in 2004. The Wood Theater is now a separate non-profit entity serving not only as ATF’s home, but also as home to a diverse group of community and professional productions year-round. Adirondack Theatre Festival, together with organizations like The Hyde Collection and the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, makes Glens Falls the cultural heart of the Southern Adirondacks and continues to enrich the quality of life for local residents year after year.
Research & Development for the American Theatre
Since its first season in 1995, ATF has produced 19 world premieres. Several of these, including Behave Yourself by Leslie Avayzian, the Melissa Gibson commission All is Not, Hal Corley’s Brush the Summer By, and Eric Lane’s Filming O’Keeffe involved two year commitments including readings, workshops and a full production. Many of ATF’s world premieres have gone onto receive productions in NYC, across the country and internationally. ATF has gained a reputation for developing one-person shows. Our most notable one-person premieres have been Fully Committed by Becky Mode (1998), Barbara’s Blue Kitchen by Lori Fischer (1998), It Goes Without Saying by Bill Bowers (2003) and Filler Up! by Deb Filler (1999 and 2008). A sample of the musicals ATF has played a role in developing include Hello Out There by Eric Price and Frank Terry, Murder for Two by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon (2009), Girl in the Frame by Jeremy Desmon (2005), and Mimi Le Duck by Diane Hansen-Young and Brian Feinstein (2004).
In addition, ATF has provided an artistic home for early work by significant artists at a time when their work was barely known in New York City, let alone outside of it. This has included: Lisa Kron’s 101 Humiliating Stories (ATF 1995) and 2.5 Minute Ride (ATF 2007), Andrew Lippa’s Jon & Jen (ATF 1996), David and Ain Gordon’s The Small Family Business (ATF 1998), Melissa James Gibson’s Red Front (2000), Adam Rapp’s Nocturne (ATF 2001), Anton Dudley’s The Lake’s End (ATF 2003), JT Rogers’ Madagascar (ATF 2005) and John Kolvenbach’s Love Song (ATF 2008). For ATF’s complete production history click here.