6 Great Performing Arts Organizations On The East Coast

You don't have to pay Broadway prices to see great performances on the East Coast. From live theater to improv comedy to circus acts, there are plenty of wonderful shows to enjoy that not only provide entertainment, but support local artists as well. If you're interested in the performing arts, check out the six organizations listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Performing Arts Organizations In The Eastern U.S.

Organization Location Mission
Northern Stage White River Junction, VT Change lives by engaging audiences with world-class productions and extensive educational and outreach programs
New England Center for Circus Arts Brattleboro, VT Use the transformative power of circus arts to enable a diverse and inclusive community of artists, teachers, and students to realize their dreams
Washington Revels Silver Spring, MD Use performance, education, and community engagement to revive, sustain, expand, and celebrate cultural traditions
Philadelphia Young Playwrights Philadelphia, PA Tap the potential of youth and inspire learning through playwriting
Baltimore Improv Group Baltimore, MD Advance the art and appreciation of comedy improv in the Baltimore region through enthusiastic participation and education
The Chocolate Factory Theater Long Island City, NY Support the development and presentation of new work by a community of local, national, and international artists working in dance, theater, and interdisciplinary performance

Top 10 States Ranked by Number of Nonprofit Theaters Per Capita

As of 2005, according to the National Endowment for the Arts

State Number of theaters per 100,000 people Population (in millions)
1. Vermont 2.2 0.6
2. Alaska 1.7 0.7
3. New York 1.3 19.3
4. Maine 1.2 1.3
5. Montana 1.2 0.9
6. Rhode Island 1.1 1.1
7. Oregon 1.1 3.6
8. Connecticut 1.0 3.5
9. New Hampshire 1.0 1.3
10. Minnesota 1.0 5.1

5 Types of Performing Arts

  1. Theater: Live performers present an experience through elements like gesture, speech, music, and dance
  2. Dance: Sequences of movement, either choreographed or improvised, often accompanied by music
  3. Music: Sound organized in time, performed with instruments, vocals, or both
  4. Improv Comedy: Humorous unscripted performance, often influenced by audience participation
  5. Circus Arts: Performers showcasing skills such as juggling, acrobatics, tightrope walking, magic, etc.

The Life-Changing Power of Live Theater

In Depth

From theater to stand-up comedy, trapeze acts to musicals, the performing arts covers a wide range of expression, offering us many opportunities to give voice to our more artistic side. Fortunately, now more than ever, there seems to be a group dedicated to pretty much every type of performance imaginable. If you have a penchant for all things creative, or simply want to learn more about the world around you, then here are, in no particular order, six great performing arts organizations on the East Coast.

At #1 is Northern Stage, located in White River Junction, Vermont. Founded in 1997 by Brooke Ciardelli, Northern Stage is a professional theater company that aims to enrich communities through the power of storytelling. A regional nonprofit, it puts on six full productions on its main stage between September and May. Examples of past shows include "Into the Woods," "The History Boys," and "Driving Miss Daisy."

Besides putting on shows each year, Northern Stage also runs a series of initiatives related to the world of theater. Various youth training programs, including the Technical Apprentice Program and the Youth Ensemble Studio, educate and familiarize young people with all aspects of performance. Elsewhere, an annual festival of workshops and readings called New Works Now, launched in 2013, brings together playwrights, actors, and dramaturges from across the country. If you are interested in supporting Northern Stage, you can make a donation directly or volunteer as an usher.

Besides putting on shows each year, Northern Stage also runs a series of initiatives related to the world of theater.

Coming in at #2 is New England Center for Circus Arts, based in Brattleboro, Vermont. Established in 2007 by Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion, NECCA is a non-profit circus arts education facility dedicated to the values of balance, wholeness, connection, and strength. With a welcoming and inclusive community, NECCA offers classes, workshops, and other training opportunities led by its passionate and experienced coaching staff.

In addition to private lessons and regular classes, NECCA runs a three-week Performance Boot Camp and a six-week Summer Intensive Program for students looking to take their skills to the next level. For younger performers, a robust program in youth training provides opportunities like weeklong summer day camps. Those who are interested in getting involved with New England Center for Circus Arts can donate an item for its annual scholarship raffle or attend one of its many unique performances throughout the year.

In the #3 spot is Washington Revels. Working in the greater Washington, DC area, this cultural institution is an independent nonprofit that is part of the broader Revels network, which is active in ten cities across the country. For more than thirty-five years, Washington Revels has been committed to supporting, reinvigorating, and celebrating cultural traditions in the areas of music, dance, storytelling, and drama.

For more than thirty-five years, Washington Revels has been committed to supporting, reinvigorating, and celebrating cultural traditions in the areas of music, dance, storytelling, and drama.

Each year, the organization puts on a variety of shows, many of which emphasize audience participation, ranging from occasional Pub Sings, an informal community event, to the annual May Revels, a celebration of the arrival of spring. "The Christmas Revels," a professionally staged and directed show, takes place in December and attracts over 10,000 attendees. Young people are invited to join in on the opportunities for performance too, with numerous workshops dedicated to expanding their minds and exposing them to the creative world. If you wish to support Washington Revels, you can attend one of its many shows or events, audition for a role, or volunteer your time.

At #4 is Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Established in 1987 by founder Adele Magner, P.Y.P. teams up with educators to promote the power of playwriting in classrooms and community settings across the region. Taking a student-centric approach to its work, the organization seeks to improve writing-based literacy while also strengthening skills like creativity, communication, and collaboration. In the 2013-14 school year, for example, it reached over 2,000 students in forty schools throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.

Most of P.Y.P.'s work takes place inside the classroom through its two main offerings: the Core Program, a long-term residency that guides students through writing and revising their own plays, and Monologue Workshops, a short-term series of lessons that help students pen their own monologues. Each year, students are given the chance to submit their plays to the Annual Playwriting Festival, which sees around forty works chosen for further development. If you are interested in getting involved with Philadelphia Young Playwrights, you can make a donation online or check out its podcast, "Mouthful."

Each year, students are given the chance to submit their plays to the Annual Playwriting Festival, which sees around forty works chosen for further development.

Coming in at #5 is Baltimore Improv Group. Founded in 2004 by Mike Subelsky, BIG promotes comedy improv in the Baltimore region through education and participation, emphasizing the values of inclusivity, respect, and professionalism. Each year, the nonprofit puts on over 300 free shows, including jams, musical improv, and stand-up comedy open mics. In addition, BIG takes a collaborative approach to its work, inviting people in the community to pitch ideas for improv or sketch comedy shows.

Beyond its busy schedule of shows, the organization also runs an impressive educational program: BIG University, designed for students over the age of eighteen, offers a number of classes that last from one day to seven weeks. Examples of these classes include "Group Games" and "Get Out Of Your Head!". Younger students, meanwhile, have a chance to learn the ins and outs of improv through BIG's weeklong Summer Day Camp. If you are interested in getting involved with this nonprofit, consider signing up to volunteer or renting out its theater for your own event.

At #6 is The Chocolate Factory Theater. Based in Long Island City, Queens, The Chocolate Factory Theater has, since 2005, supported and encouraged the work of artists on the local, national, and international levels in the fields of dance, theater, and interdisciplinary performance. Each year, this organization selects nine to ten lead artists and collaborators who receive over $50,000 in support, from a funded residency to access to its space and equipment.

Each year, this organization selects nine to ten lead artists and collaborators who receive over $50,000 in support, from a funded residency to access to its space and equipment.

In addition to practicing and working on their projects in this space, artists also occasionally put on performances for spectators. Furthermore, The Chocolate Factory Theater provides extensive photo and video documentation for its artists, which is viewed by more than 75,000 people each year. Those who are interested in supporting this organization can attend one of its many events, sign up to receive its weekly e-newsletter, or make a donation online.