Betty Beekman, Interim Executive Director announced today that the company is returning to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and will retain an office in the historic Monte Cristo Cottage in New London, Connecticut. The company will continue to operate the Little Theatre of the Deaf in West Hartford.
Monte Cristo Cottage is known as the Summer House of Nobel-Prize winner Eugene O'Neill and is located on Pequot Avenue along the Thames River in New London, Connecticut. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971 and is owned and operated by the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as a historic house museum. Furnished to appear as it might have for the setting of Long Day's Journey into Night, the house also features exhibits about O'Neill's life and works, as well as artifacts and memorabilia.
"We are very honored and pleased to be is this beautiful building that plays such an important part in American theatrical history," Beekman said, "and to be back at the O'Neill; where we started and where we belong."
Currently the company is enjoying its third annual residency at the O'Neill Theatre Center where the LTD is developing a new work, The W-5 that will be produced for the 2012-13 touring theatre season.
Two previous residencies lead to acclaimed productions: Stories in My Pocket Too and Journeys of Identity, about Thomas Gallaudet, founder of the nation's first school for the Deaf. It was produced in collaboration with Hartford's Old State House.
In 1965, a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare provided planning funds for the creation of The National Theatre of the Deaf. With additional funds from the U.S. Office of Education, NTD began the annual Professional Training School the summer of 1967 and held its first public performance at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. The company then went on their first national tour that fall from a home base shared with The Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center. The following year, The Little Theatre of the Deaf was created for young audiences and continues to tour to this day.
NTD has received critical acclaim for its adaptations of classic literature (Chekhov, Voltaire, Homer, Moliere, Ibsen and Puccini) as well as for original works by the Company. NTD has put its signature on such creations as the King of Hearts, A Child's Christmas in Wales and Ophelia. Their teleplay of One More Spring, produced with Connecticut Public Television and The Learning Channel, was nominated for a Cable ACE Award.
National Theatre of the Deaf productions provides the opportunity for the majority hearing community to be stimulated by the skills and artistry of the minority Deaf community.
Presentations by NTD do more than just make theatre accessible to the Deaf. NTD presentations provide a platform for the Deaf to share a cultural and social event with hearing members of the audience. This sharing promotes pride in the artistry and culture of the Deaf. NTD performances expose all audiences to arts. To hearing people in particular, it provides the expression of artists from a culture most of them have never experienced. The impact of NTD is realized nationwide and around the world through its principal product: theatre. This continues to be the best vehicle for breaking down the stereotypes that exist regarding minorities.
Funding is provided in part by the generosity of the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, J. Walton Bissell Foundation, City of New London Water Authority Community Fund, Connecticut Office of the Arts, Crown Foundation, Hartford Performs, The Katherine Lindsay Howell Fund, The Frederick Loewe Foundation, Mead Witter Foundation, NewAlliance Foundation and Edward T. & Anne E. Roberts Foundation, The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, Spiritus Gladius Foundation, State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the National Endowment for the Arts.
"Our thanks to Preston Whiteway, Executive Director of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, the Board of Directors and the entire O'Neill staff for this creative opportunity at one of the greatest theatre centers in the country" Ms. Beekman added.