Company One Theatre:
“Building the Future of American Theatre”

Company One Theatre (C1) has been awarded $1.25 million through two major grants to support its theatre as Public Art for Public Good initiative. Investment from the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, the Boston Public Library, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has ensured that in C1’s 25th season of producing unmissable theatrical events, the catalytic company will continue serving the city’s youngest and most diverse theatre audience with free performances and programs for years to come.

As Company One launches its 25th season, its reputation for innovation is reaping rewards

Boston’s Company One awarded $1.25 million to ‘chart a new path’ for American theater

Company One Theatre leads the accessible arts charge with pay-what-you-can model

5 Companies Form Future of American Theatre Cohort

Cleveland Public Theatre, Company One, Crowded Fire Theater, Mosaic Theater, and Perseverance Theatre have joined in an innovation-sharing, change-making collective.


C1 is proud to have been selected by the city of Boston as a recipient of the Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Fund grant and the 2023 City Hall Plaza Engagement grant totaling $500,000. This significant investment codifies a three-year summer residency in Dorchester’s historic Strand Theatre and a one year residency on City Hall Plaza.

Additionally, C1 has entered into a three-year partnership with the Boston Public Library with $250,000 of support to produce public programs and activate Boston Public Library spaces and communities with performance.

All programs in these three venues will be free with Pay-What-You-Want tickets, disrupting an old and financially inaccessible model, historically caused by rising ticket prices in traditional theatres.



the Mellon Foundation has awarded Company One Theatre an additional $500,000 over two years, to support its participation in “The Future of the American Theatre Cohort.”

Company One Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre (Cleveland, OH), Crowded Fire Theater (San Francisco, CA), Mosaic Theater Company (Washington, D.C.), and Perseverance Theatre (Douglas & Anchorage, AK) are intentionally multi-racial organizations who vision an American theatre that aspires to be a tool for social change, serving as a catalyst for cross-cultural connection and learning.

In the face of rising rates of theatre closures and shrinking audiences, these five small to midsize theaters came together in Spring 2023 to share resources, foster collective learning, and champion new visions for the American Theater. Our goal, individually and collectively, is to center multiracial artists and audiences in all facets of our work while developing and practicing new models for artistic production, audience building, community engagement, new play development, and leadership.

The Mellon Foundation is generously supporting this cohort with a total of $2.5 million in grant funding.


Company One Theatre will use the funds from these grants to invest in their artists and staff as well as in their Public Art for Public Good initiative, providing free productions at the Boston Public Library and the Strand Theatre. In classic C1 form, each production will feature deep community engagement events and social action opportunities, in partnership with local social justice organizations that amplify the dominant themes in each play. The grants will also fund four Better Future Series taking place live for the first time, in City Hall Plaza Pavilion. C1’s Better Future events convene Boston’s artists, policymakers, and community leaders in performance, community workshops and panel discussions focused on different issues facing our communities.

The cast of The Boy Who Kissed The Sky at the Strand Theatre in 2023 (photo by Erin Crowley)

“Each organization in this cohort has demonstrated local and national leadership capabilities through coalition-building and their practice of abundant collectivism. The close collaborations on behalf of communities and the larger theater ecosystem is thrilling to see, and we’re proud to be in partnership with them as they do this important work.”

– Stephanie Ybarra, program officer for Arts and Culture at the Mellon Foundation

“The Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture is proud to support the meaningful programs that Company One produces through the Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Grant and the City Hall Plaza Engagement Grant. C1’s mission to create authentic, accessible, and inclusive theatre programming aligns with our funding goals and we look forward to seeing all that they accomplish in their 25th season.”

– Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston

“We are so pleased that the Boston Public Library is able to continue to host our returning strategic partner Company One. Together, we are continuing to democratize access to the arts, while engaging with the broader community and delivering on inclusive storytelling. We are grateful to the Cooper Estate and the Boston Public Library Fund for making this engagement possible.”

– David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library

“One of our biggest joys as a company has been seeing thousands of people together in city-owned public spaces. These partnerships provide an exciting opportunity to make theatre even more accessible and expansive, strengthening Boston’s joy and well-being and meeting the public where they are.”

– Summer Williams, C1 Associate Artistic Director & Co-Founder

“We’re deeply honored by the trust that the City of Boston and Mellon Foundation have placed in us. It is especially meaningful as we embark on our 25th season to have both local and national partners championing our work and our mission in this way.”

– Karthik Subramanian, C1 Managing Director

“After 25 years of making award-winning theatre in Boston, we’ve learned that the American  Theatre needs to reinvent itself to serve more people of all backgrounds, and find its way to relevancy and impact. Our aim is to be part of the movement forging a new path forward.”

– Shawn LaCount, C1 Artistic Director & Co-Founder