Why Rattlestick?

Rattles are an instrument that remind us to wake up and come together as a community. They unite all ages, race, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and families together in celebration. A rattle stick is an instrument used by many Native American/Indigenous Nations. We acknowledge our theater is on the traditional land of the Lenape Nation People in Manahatta (Island of Many Hills) or Manhattan. 

Daniella Topol took over as Artistic Director at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in April 2016. She talks to us about why Rattlestick...


Our mission is to present diverse, challenging and provocative plays that might not otherwise be produced and to foster the future voices of the American theater. We produce theater to inspire empathy and provoke conversations in response to the complexities of our culture. Rattlestick is committed to supporting artists whose works inspire empathy, provoke conversations in response to the complexities of our culture, and promote social change. It is essential that Rattlestick’s artists, audience, and core team reflect the diversity of New York City, and that a wide array of perspectives are represented on the Rattlestick stage.



Rattlestick produces a Mainstage Season of daring new plays each year, maintains a New Voices/New Works program to assist writers readying projects for production, mentors our apprentice company The Middle Voice at Rattlestick, brings teaching artists into NYC schools, and engages deeply with communities and community organizations.

Commitment to Racial and Social Justice We believe that inspirational theater can provoke conversation and lead to social change. Our current Mainstage Season serves as a testament to our commitment to this belief. Rattlestick is actively making space and opportunities for diverse artists to be a core part of our community. This past season, Rattlestick was the second participating theater in the Sol Project, an initiative to launch work by Latin writers. Artistic Director Daniella Topol participated in an Undoing Racism Workshop by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and is currently leading a series of gatherings to address the racial bias in theater criticism.

 January 5, 2018 - New York, NY  Dress rehearsal of Until the Flood, NY premiere of a new solo show written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. 

Directed by Neel Keller
Set Design - Takeshi Kata
Lighting Design - Mary Louise Geiger
Costume Design - Kaye Voyce
Sound Design - Justin Ellington
Projection Design - Nick Hussong

Photo Credit-  Robert Altman for Rattlestick
Photographer- Robert Altman


Founded in 1994, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is an Obie-Award winning theater that has developed and produced over 100 World Premieres in the past 22 seasons. We have produced the first plays and early works of some of today’s leading voices, including Annie Baker (The Aliens), Sheila Callaghan (That Pretty, Pretty), Jesse Eisenberg (The Revisionist), Martyna Majok (Ironbound), Adam Rapp (The Hallway Trilogy), Lucy Thurber (The Hilltown Plays), Jonathan Tolins (Buyer and Cellar) and Craig Wright (The Pavilion).

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