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Acting Out


Traditional venues available for up-and-coming theater companies are scarce in New Haven. Fortunately, our city is home to many creative organizations that embrace that challenge and turn to non-traditional locations such as parking spaces, buses, and bridges to share their work. We, too, wanted to play within the community in venues that don’t traditionally serve as performance spaces. We also wanted to reach out to the talented writers of the region and challenge them to create original pieces written specifically for those locations. So we decided to ACT OUT: use existing spaces within our city to serve as fodder for the playwrights, stages for the players, and vantage points for the community.

It is our goal to ACT OUT all over New Haven: to provide opportunities for local, exciting voices to write and develop thought-provoking new works, to welcome the resident acting pool to come and play and perform, and to encourage our audience to travel with us as we explore the city’s spaces and reveal its untold stories.

Acting Out: The Institute Library • NOVEMBER 2013

Drawing of a Double by MJ Kaufman

No More Flying Machines by MJ Kaufman

Autobiography by Doron S. Ben-Atar


David Brensilver Arts Paper: History and place as inspiration: Theatre 4 stages new plays at The Institute Library 


Acting Out: IKEA New Haven,  APRIL 2013

Your Living Room is Filled with Ghosts by MJ Kaufman

In the Garden of Sweden by Jacques Lamarre

The Housewives of Corinth (or Medea Episode 2) by Andra Vebell

For the Most Important People in the World by Jake Jeppson


Richard Zoglin in Time Magazine Total Immersion: In more new shows, the passive theatergoer is passé Hartford Courant Korky Vann: At Ikea, the Store’s a Stage

Acting Out: Fairhaven Furniture, January 2012

About a Neti Pot by Dawn Campbell

To Be Announced by Joe Landry

Protector of the Kingdom by Caroline V. McGraw

Table Talk by Steven Otfinoski

What an outlandish idea, right? Four plays in a furniture store?! The whole experience was an unmitigated pleasure from beginning to end. If there’s ever an opportunity to do it again…sign us up! Encore! A brilliant and innovative concept, executed perfectly. I think every person involved laughed, was moved, was stimulated, had fun. Bravo! Thanks for all of it.

– Kerry, Elizabeth, and the rest of the staff at Fairhaven Furniture

I thought this was another smashing success for Theater Four. I loved all of the plays. I liked the actors you brought in. The event was professional, well planned, well run, the plays were all different which created a texture for the whole event, and best of all, it was just fun. Everyone I talked to had a great time.

– Howard Brown, Audience Member

Acting Out: The Study at Yale, January 2011

The Worst Man by Doron Ben-Atar

In the Red, White and Blue by Dipika Guha

The Hero of Tal Afar by Lee Jacobus

Confidence by Kristen Palmer

William Shakespeare did it in the round. Tennessee Williams did it without a fourth wall. Francis Ford Coppola did it behind a lens. But, Theater 4, they’ll do it anywhere: take a space, write a play and act it out.

Hosting Theater 4’s two evenings of Acting Out was nothing short of witnessing The Study at Yale come to theatrical-life. What a wonderful experience. Theater 4’s playwrights, along with the many talented actors, took the space within the Study at Yale and transformed it into a true theatrical stage. Drama in our hotel has never been so welcomed.

– Danyel C. Aversenti, Catering Sales Manager, The Study

Acting Out: Lena’s Cafe & Confections, January 2010

The Poster by George Brant

Doesn’t Get It by Rosemary Foley

86 Jake by Jack Rushen

‘Till that Lucky Day by Staci Swedeen

Hilarious, Fun, and would do it again if we had the opportunity. Not knowing what was going to be written, how it was going to be presented or even if people would come were some of the variables no one knew. I think this could have ran all week and still would not have fit everyone in that wanted to see the show.

The actors were all great, very helpful in the set up, promotions, and specifically putting on a great show. We would recommend to all that are approached by the Theater 4 group to give it a try. It was a fun and a great way to introduce your place to new people.

– Gail and John Campagna, Owners

Our audience has said

Acting Out is like a wonderful translation of the “locavore” movement into theater. Everything about it is fresh, homegrown, and wildly creative. You get a delightful taste of the talent that’s right in your own community, starting with the innovative idea of writing short plays specifically for local venues and including the community in the production. Everything about “Acting Out” is high quality, and being so close to the action’s not just because of the intimate space, but because you’re essentially ‘on stage’ as an audience member–makes this an incredibly satisfying evening–loads of fun!


One of the most interesting consequences of site-specific theater is that it makes the audience aware that the real drama in life is in everyday occurrences — a conversation overheard from the next table, an observed discussion between two waiters, an unexpected encounter with a person whose outfit or manner or offhand comment turns out to be memorable and thought-provoking. The real power of each of these four plays is that it actually could happen to you, in that place.


There was a theatre group in New Haven, about 15 years ago, that we just loved. The concept: plays were done in a setting relative to the play’s theme. So, that Inherit the Wind was done at the Yale Law School court room; Becket was done on a lone wind swept hill with one single tree. So, I think you’re onto something. Why always do the stage thing? It’s much more dynamic to be part of the audience. Short, original plays are a great addition. Keep it up.

Where to ACT OUT next?

Lots of great suggestions were made including churches, libraries, museums, farmers’ markets, and many more. We are currently touring the city, and will reveal our next site soon. Send us an email with any other great site suggestions or submit your idea below.
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Local Playwright?

If you write and are interested in working with us on ACTING OUT, please submit a selection of your short plays for us to read. Send submissions to: Theatre 4, PO BOX 8782, New Haven CT 06532

Acting Out made possible by with the support of the City of New Haven’s Mayor’s Community Grants Program