Indie Theater Now Overview


INDIE THEATER NOW is the flagship program of The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. (NYTE), a nonprofit corporation. Led by Executive Director Martin Denton and Managing Director Rochelle Denton, NYTE has been documenting, reviewing and collaborating with independent theater artists for 19 years.

Indie Theater Now was launched on August 7, 2011. As we did with our long-running website nytheatre.com, we take a comprehensive approach to gathering, archiving, nurturing, and spotlighting the rich and diverse world of independent theater.

Mission & Objectives

Indie Theater Now is a platform where playwrights, directors, actors, theater artists, drama enthusiasts, and students and teachers of theater come together to discover and explore new plays from the American indie theater world. Our focus is on work that is fresh, current, and representative of the diversity of American culture. Specifically, we:

  1. Provide tangible support to indie playwrights by selling digital copies of their play scripts to a broad and diverse readership, which enables them to grow and develop their artistic careers, and to receive royalties for their work.
  2. Provide tools and resources to these playwrights to help them promote their work to a wider audience.
  3. Provide access to worthy new drama to a national audience, especially artists, students, and members of academia who are engaged in creating theater; build awareness of and encourage engagement with contemporary plays and playwrights, especially outside of areas where they currently work.
  4. Document and preserve contemporary independent American drama (roughly 1990 to the present).

Indie Theater Now comprises a broad and diverse group of playwrights from all regions of the U.S. and Canada. Read more about how we curate.

The Indie Theater Now Digital Platform

Indie Theater Now consists of these websites:

  1. Indie Theater Now is the principal content area: a growing library of scripts that are stored in the cloud and accessed via an online digital reader by end-users who pay $1.29 or less per play. It also includes detailed information about all of the plays and playwrights participating in the program, plus search facilities enabling readers to find plays of interest to them.
  2. The Indie Theater Now Blog offers content about contemporary American drama in the NYC area, much of it written by Indie Theater Now’s playwrights, along with announcements from ITN editor Martin Denton.
  3. The ITN Facebook page provides interactive and social content to playwrights, theater artists, and audience members.

Looked at another way, Indie Theater Now is a community of theater artists—playwrights as well as representatives of other disciplines—who are committed to working together to use technology to tell the world about their work.

Please read About ITN for details about what you can do on Indie Theater Now and other information.

Key Accomplishments

Since our launch in the summer of 2011, we have achieved the following:

  1. Built the core websites and Facebook page
  2. Developed a proprietary JavaScript-based play reader which is compatible with virtually any modern device or browser
  3. Executed license agreements with more than 700 playwrights
  4. Published more than 1,300 plays
  5. Distributed more than 15,000 scripts and paid out/accrued more than $4,000 in royalties to playwrights
  6. Forwarded/fielded more than 100 requests from theater companies/professionals interested in contacting playwrights for productions/commissions etc.
  7. Built a following of more than 2,000 “fans” on Facebook and more than 5,700 followers on Twitter

How Indie Theater Now is Being Used at Colleges and Universities

At Williams College, Professor Omar Sangare uses Indie Theater Now as a resource for students in his acting classes: "Throughout the semester, each student in the course will examine a broad range of scripts available at Indie Theater Now, and study one character from their favorite piece in great detail. Students will strive to understand the crucial decisions and values that guide each character through their predicament. Using the methods of Constantin Stanislavsky, students will then deliver selected speeches that display a spectrum of human emotions, from grief and terror to elation and humor." (Read more about this and see a video of excerpts from a final presentation.)

At Bloomsburg University, students in directing class used Indie Theater Now to find a suitable play to work on for in-class practice. (They selected "Lovers Leapt" by Leslie Bramm.)

At Fordham University, Indie Theater Now was adopted as a departmental resource by the Theatre Department, who purchased a subscription to ITN for the academic year. Under this program, we provide full access to all the plays and other content on ITN available to all students and staff in the department. Students use ITN to find material for acting class, auditions, and showcase productions.

At SUNY Stony Brook, Indie Theater Now's Plays and Playwrights 2014 anthology was used as a supplemental text in an introductory theater class, exposing students to a variety of contemporary and current trends in playwriting. Similarly, at the University of Georgia this summer, theater students in a graduate seminar are reading a selection of plays on Indie Theater Now picked by their professor.

At SUNY Empire State College, Indie Theater Now is integrated within the playwriting lab program. Read more from lab director Lynda Crawford.

Licensing Terms

Playwrights receive 30 cents for each copy of their play that is "purchased" by readers. (For anthologies of short plays written by multiple authors, each playwright receives 10 cents per copy.) Playwrights also receive a limited number of free “copies” of their play that they can share with colleagues. The playwright is granting NYTE a non-exclusive license to display their play electronically. Information about how to contact each playwright (or his/her agent/representative) for future productions, etc., is prominently featured with the play. The copyright remains with the playwright.

How We're Funded

NYTE is a 501(c)(3) corporation and receives funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and individual donors. NYTE’s web development is supported in part by a $25K technology grant from Microsoft Corporation which we received as one of three winners in a national competition in 2009 among approximately 700 nonprofit corporations, and by an ongoing grant from Microsoft Corporation for Azure services.

Organizational Strengths

  1. Technological infrastructure and expertise: The Microsoft grant and our relationship with TechSoup provide us with access to the most up-to-date web development technologies and tools. We work with Microsoft Azure and PayPal for cloud services and e-commerce services, respectively.
  2. Editorial and Publishing: NYTE Small Press, another program of our corporation, has been in operation since 2000. We’ve published 16 print anthologies of new plays and 5 E-books (4 play anthologies plus one theatre-related memoir).
  3. Theatre expertise: Executive Director Martin Denton has written about theater for twenty years; he’s written about 3,000 reviews and edited about 7,000 more on nytheatre.com. He’s been a member of both the Drama Desk and American Theatre Critics Association. He’s lectured about contemporary theatre and theatre criticism at colleges such as NYU, Columbia University, Rutgers University and for organizations like the Dramatists Guild and FringeNYC. He’s a founding member of the Board of Directors of the League of Independent Theatre, Inc.
  4. Affilliations and outreach: Indie Theater Now is an affiliate member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).
  5. Recognition: NYTE received the Stewardship Award from the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation in 2008 for service to the theatre community. In short, NYTE is a well-respected member of the NYC independent theatre community of long-standing.

(October 17, 2016)