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Message from the Artistic Director

Dear Rattlestick Family,


As you may have heard, this year is bringing big changes as I pursue the next phase of my career. I will be moving on from Rattlestick in Spring 2023 to pursue a career in nursing and health care.  I'm very excited to be starting this new, challenging, and very meaningful chapter. I've been thinking over this transition for quite awhile now (partially inspired by working on Novenas for a Lost Hospital) and it feels that now the time is right.  For both personal and political reasons, my plan is to focus on maternal care, and I have been exploring this quite intensely through volunteering at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital while taking nursing pre-requisite courses. What a critical and essential time this is to support women and their reproductive rights and needs. 


Leading Rattlestick has been a terrific honor for me.  There is no other theater I would like to run, and I am so proud of the work we have made, the incredible artists that we have produced and developed, our powerful community partnerships, and our passionate commitment to raising funds to renovate the theater to make it fully accessible.  I firmly believe in intentional leadership change. With a new Artistic Director comes new creative energy and worlds of possibility. Thanks to generous supporters and collaborators, Rattlestick is in a very strong position, artistically and financially.  With the strong continuity of board leadership, the next Artistic Director will be in a great position for success.  


We have raised substantial funds towards our capital renovations and are continuing to fundraise for capacity-building and artistic innovation in conjunction with our renovated space.  We have a number of exciting commissions and new initiatives underway, and an incredible upcoming season in the works.  We will produce two new sensational world premiere productions (and I am honored to be directing one of these) and our fourth Global Forms Festival, and we have a powerful cadre of commissioned artists and fellows who will be sharing their works-in-progress throughout the year.  We will announce these offerings in the upcoming weeks, and you will have a chance to hear some of these projects at our Season Jam on September 14th.


The search for a new Artistic Director is being led by ALJP Consulting, a firm that places artistry and equity at the heart of its practice. Their work aims to create and foster more diverse and inclusive spaces for the likes of artists and administrators. We will keep you updated on the search in the upcoming months and plan to have the next Artistic Director appointed by Spring 2023.


I am so grateful for your steadfast support and belief in Rattlestick and our mission.  It has truly been a privilege making so much exciting theater together and I look forward to sharing a meaningful upcoming season with you.




  1. Why are you searching for a new Artistic Director?

    1. In the coming year, Rattlestick’s Artistic Director, Daniella Topol, will be transitioning out of the company after seven successful years to pursue a career in nursing. Daniella has been instrumental in shaping our company’s values and expanding our artist base. While we are very excited for her to pursue this next chapter of her career, she will be greatly missed!

  2. Who is part of the search process?

    1. The search is being led by ALJP Consulting, a firm that centers equity ,inclusion, access, and transparency. They recently led the search for new Artistic Directors at New York Theatre Workshop and Philadelphia Theatre Company, as well as for a Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; a Director of Development at Pasadena Playhouse; and a Director of Marketing and Communications at Steppenwolf. ALJP will identify members of Rattlestick’s staff, board, and artistic community to be a part of the search team.

  3. How can I apply?

    1. Application details will be posted in the coming weeks on most major job sites, as well as on ALJP’s website

  4. How can I tell you what I think is important in Rattlestick’s next Artistic Director?

    1. We’d love to hear from you! Please send an email to

  5. Is the rest of the staff staying?

    1. Yes! In fact, we have recently expanded our staff to help secure our organizational infrastructure during this transition period. Yue Liu is our fearless Managing Director. Rattlestick’s former Directing Fellow, Danilo Gambini, was recently brought on as our company’s first Associate Artistic Director. Domi Sowell has been promoted to Company Manager and we expanded our development department to two full-time positions – Laura Zlatos is our Individual Giving Manager and Jolene Noelle is our Institutional Giving Manager.

  6. How is your Board involved in this transition?

    1. We are very happy to maintain an active and engaged board who have all expressed their support for this transition process. Members of our board will be present on  the search committee and the board has been in communication with staff about the process. 

  7. When will the new Artistic Director begin?

    1. As Daniella has flexibility in her timeline for departure, we are planning for a long lead time and overlap between Artistic Directors. Ideally, the new candidate will be in place by the Spring of 2023.

  8. How much longer will Daniella Topol be at Rattlestick?

    1. Daniella plans to stay on through the transition process and for the first few months of the new Artistic Director’s tenure to allow for a smooth transition. She is currently planning to stay with the company through early May if/as needed (and will always have a home here at Rattlestick!)


  1. Will anything change in the way you support artists?

    1. Rattlestick’s commitment to artists is at the core of our work. We are excited to see what ideas a new Artistic Director will bring for deepening and broadening our work in ways that align with our company’s core values. 

  2. What kinds of productions and artistic programs are you planning in the future?

    1. We have a number of exciting new projects in the works in the coming year, particularly developing the work of our commissioned artists and fellows. Stay tuned, as we will be making our season announcement for 2022-23 very soon!

  3. Are you still going to be working with community partners?

    1. Yes. This work has become an integral part of our mission. We are very grateful to Daniella for establishing such a robust network of community partners, and we look forward to carrying this work into the future. 

  4. Is Rattlestick healthy financially?

    1. Yes. We are happy to say that our company is one of the healthiest positions it has been in recent history, which is what makes this time ideal to begin the transition process. Rattlestick maintains a diverse portfolio of institutional funders and has a committed base of individual donors who have been a part of the transition conversations. You can also review our most recent IRS form 990 here.

  5. I really like your new logo! What’s the story behind that?

    1. We wanted a visual story that would bring Rattlestick forward in a more vivid, recognizable way while reflecting the vibrancy and warmth of our community. We’ve taken the “L” in our logo and embraced it as a shape, symbolic of our historic doorway, leading from the bustle of the Village into an artistic oasis. And just like the city we call home and our theatre - that door shape - and the entirety of our logo - will constantly reinvent itself. Across our production art and marketing platforms, our logo will take on the textures, colors and patterns that reflect connectivity to and unity with our productions, our activism, and our community partners.

  6. I noticed that Playwrights isn’t a part of your name anymore. Why?

    1. As we designed our new logo, we felt it was important for our identity as an organization to better reflect the work we do. Our work extends beyond support for playwrights, particularly as the roles of theater-makers continue to grow, bend, and stretch beyond traditional definitions. We are an artistic home to directors, dramaturgs, designers, actors, and every multi-hyphenate and artist in-between. 


  1. Why are you renovating your theater?

    1. It has been a long-time dream to make Rattlestick’s historic theater physically accessible to people of diverse needs while enhancing the artistic flexibility of our space. Working with our architects (Architecture Outfit), Project Manager (Cirgenski + Co), and Landlord (St. John’s in the Village), we are thrilled to have found a design that will allow us to install ADA-accessible restrooms, a renovated lobby and dressing rooms, a flexible staging area, and an elevator connecting our second-floor theater to the street level. These changes allow us to create a space that meets the needs of more ambitious scripts while inviting in audiences and artists of all abilities. 

  2. What will it look like when it’s finished? 

    1. Check out our Artistic Home Campaign page for initial drawings and a list of changes. 

  3. Are you planning to improve the accessibility of the lobby, theater, and bathrooms? 

    1. Absolutely! While our on-stage bathrooms certainly give our theater a lot of character, it’s time for them to go! We are so excited to be creating a space that is accessible and welcoming from the ticket counter to the dressing rooms. 

  4. When will the renovation happen and when will it be complete?

    1. We are currently in the process of city permitting and receiving all the necessary approvals to begin construction. Currently, we anticipate beginning construction in June of 2023 and the theater will be closed for approximately one year during renovations. 

  5. Will you produce somewhere else while you’re out of your space?

    1. While away from our theater, we will be producing work off-site and online, as well as partnering with other theaters for production. Be sure to join our Mailing List to get the latest updates on our production plans. 

  6. Who’s overseeing the design and construction of your renovated space?

    1. Our plans are being designed by Architecture Outfit, a company with extensive experience in performing arts venues in New York City, including work with Symphony Space, New York Theatre Workshop, and Theatre Row. Our Project Manager and Owner’s Rep, Chris Cirgenski, is a recognized leader in New York City’s real estate development, construction and architecture industries, possessing over 40 years of diverse experience in these related business sectors. Our landlord, St. John’s in the Village, has been very supportive of the new designs and is very involved in the planning process. 

  7. How are you paying for the renovation?

    1. Rattlestick’s Artistic Home Capital Campaign has raised $4.5M toward the renovation project, including major commitments from the Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Howard Gilman Foundation, the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, the Frederic R. Coudert Foundation and many others. You can join the campaign by Naming a Seat in our new space, or adding your name to our new bathroom walls

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