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Mission and Values


Founded in 1994 by David van Asselt and Gary Bonasorte, Rattlestick Theater has been steadfast in producing diverse, challenging, and provocative plays while fostering the future voices of the American theater. Now in our 29th year, the company is focused on energetic theater that responds to the complexities of our culture in conversation with community partners. Our mission is to produce ambitious plays to inspire empathy and provoke conversation that will lead to positive social change.

​From our historic West Village theater, Rattlestick has produced the first plays and early works of some of today’s leading voices, including Martyna Majok (Ironbound), Diana Oh (mylingerieplay), and Heidi Schreck (There Are No More Big Secrets), and recently won an Obie for Arturo Luis Soria’s Ni Mi Madre. We are proud to make Rattlestick a place where some of our nation’s most celebrated playwrights feel safe to test their boldest ideas, including Dael Orlandersmith (Until the Flood), José Rivera (Massacre, Sing to Your Children), and Sam Hunter (Lewiston/Clarkston, nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play). Rattlestick provides fellowships to writers through the Van Lier Playwrights Program, the Terrence McNally Incubator Program, the Mellon Foundation’s Playwright-in-Residence Program, and has commissioned new work from numerous writers including Cusi Cram, Mahira Kakkar, Basil Kreimendahl, Dael Orlandersmith, Stacey Rose, Arturo Luis Soria, Cori Thomas, Liba Vaynberg, and Rhiana Yazzie. Rattlestick is also dedicated to supporting immigrant artists through the Global Gab and Global Forms Programs.

Core Values


We believe in the power of theater to communicate in surprising ways. We are committed to creating a culture of belonging. By creating a safe space that invites individuals and organizations to come as they are, our community is expansive and inclusive. Together we are moving towards an intimate collective.


We believe in providing an equitable space where theater can be used as a force for social justice. We are committed to embracing diverse communities and individuals through creating social justice-related theatrical work.


​We believe in empowering artists to create, engage, grow, and belong through theater. We create space for flexibility, safety, igniting the spark, and fanning the flames. By upholding the values of Community, Equity, and Empowerment, we can actively pursue.

Artistic Freedom

​We believe in being a creative environment where artists are respected and empowered to do their best work. When a new play is programmed for a mainstage production, the playwright and director have 80% of the artistic vote. Creating work isn’t about “pleasing producers”, rather empowering the artists to be the visionaries of their work.

To read more about our Anti-racist and Anti-oppressive policies, please visit our Anti-racism policies page.

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