CONNECTION

2019 Annual Report

Table of Contents

OUR NEW MISSION 

To engage our region with new and reimagined theatre in intimate settings, creating a body of work that moves, connects, and challenges all who join the conversation.

In the spring of 2019, Thrown Stone’s Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Robert Trainer and co-chaired by Jeff Krulwich and Rodgers Harper, completed a review of our operations. In addition to generating an approved strategic plan designed to propel Thrown Stone into its next phase of growth, the committee recommended we rewrite our mission statement. The original, below, covered all the bases but needed a refreshed focus:

Thrown Stone cultivates artists and audiences through opportunity, education, and mentorship, emphasizing new work and unconventional approaches to repertoire. We are committed to integrity, inclusiveness, and using technology to serve the region with theatre of distinction.

Three years on, all of that remains true, but thanks to the tireless efforts of our board and everyone we’ve connected with along the way, we’ve boiled it down to the essentials.

THE BACKSTORY

Before Andrew Levine joined Thrown Stone’s board, we often met for coffee at Ross’ Bread. We talked shop. A lot. And he related to us something his colleague, J.R. Sullivan, said about The New American Theatre in Rockford Illinois, which he founded: “We conducted a 22-year conversation with that community.”

Sullivan’s vision for the relationship between artist and audience struck a deep chord for us as we developed our idea for a new-works company. The relationship isn’t about any single play or performance — it’s about the practice of coming together to talk about all the big stuff. The stuff that makes us human.

INTIMATE SETTINGS

Intimate theatre offers more than just good seats. It’s an opportunity to be fully present in the space with the performers, and the kinds of stories we tell tend to demand your presence (it’s a conversation, after all). So, we incorporated the idea of intimacy into our mission and aesthetic.

This year, we took the idea to heart with a new “Thrust Stage” seating configuration. Just two rows surrounded the stage on three sides, creating a strikingly intimate experience — as though the audience were actually in the back yards of the characters.

MOVES, CONNECTS, CHALLENGES

We don’t promise our audience that they will love every show. Of course we want them to be entertained, but we’ll never tell an audience to sit back, relax, and enjoy. We do ask them (hat tip to Sheryl Sandberg) to lean in and engage.

We ask three questions of every play we read: Does it move us? Does it create connection? Does it challenge our notions and perceptions? This is the kind of theatre we aspire to share with our audience.

With our many talkbacks, community events, and audience surveys, there are plenty of opportunities for us to listen. Conversation is the essence of what makes live theatre special, and we mean to conduct this conversation for many seasons to come. – JP/JW

Jason Peck and Jonathan Winn
Jason Peck and Jonathan Winn

J.R. Sullivan

This year, we reached out to J.R. Sullivan when we were casting Birds of North America. Miraculously, this man whom we hold in such high esteem (and who, at the time, didn’t know us at all) fell in love with the play. The rest is Thrown Stone history.

CLOSE TO HOME 

2019 Season Recap

Thrown Stone’s 2019 season served 863 patrons, a 12% increase over 2018. Our theme was Close To Home: Two new plays about how we live with the ones we love the most. Both plays dealt with parenting and family —  subjects that reflect the essence of our community’s identity.

Cry it Out by Molly Smith Metzler

A comedy with dark edges, Cry It Out examines the absurdities of being home with a baby, the dilemma of returning to work, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship. Thrown Stone’s Connecticut Premiere was directed by Gina Pulice.

Birds of North America takes a close look at the relationship of a father and daughter over the course of a decade as they struggle to understand the parts of one another that defy understanding. Thrown Stone’s East Coast Premiere was directed by Jason Peck.

Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler
Maria McConville and Clare Parme in the Connecticut Premiere of Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry It Out
Cry It Out - Adrienne
Wynter Kullman in the Connecticut Premiere of Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry It Out
Birds of North America - binocs
Mélisa Breiner-Sanders and J.R. Sullivan in the East Coast Premiere of Anna Moench’s Birds of North America

RECOGNITION

The 2019 season received thirteen BroadwayWorld Connecticut Award Nominations, made three different Best of 2019 lists, and was praised in publications throughout the region:

“It’s theatre so superb, the end result is truly electrifying.” — Jim Ruocco

“The quality of this small production is astounding.” — The Newtown Bee

“Both productions are well acted and well worth your time and consideration. They will drive you to both laughter and tears and definitely provoke conversation.” — Bonnie Goldberg

“A significant new presence on the Connecticut regional theatre scene.” — Talkin’ Broadway

“The Yale Rep of Ridgefield” — Tom Holehan, WPKN Radio

“I feel that seeing this show has helped make me a better person.” — BroadwayWorld

“A fine production of a fine play, featuring outstanding performances. How can you possibly pass this up?” — The Ridgefield Press

FAMILY PROGRAMS

Supported by a grant from the Leir Foundation, Thrown Stone presented a series of community events around the Close To Home theme:

MARCH 24: FREE SPRING FLING

A free day of family fun hosted by Ridgefield Parks and Recreation. Thrown Stone offered a free raffle, theatre games, and a free grilled cheese lunch sponsored by Stop & Shop and prepared by Thrown Stone’s Board of Directors.

APRIL 24: SAVING SOME YOU FOR YOU — PASSION PROJECTS FOR ALL-IN PARENTS

A panel discussion for parents co-sponsored by the Ridgefield Library and Project Resilience’s Parenting the Selfie Generation event series.

APRIL 27: CHEEPERS & PEEPERS

Family Birding and Vernal Pool hikes held at Woodcock Nature Center, co-sponsored by the Ridgefield Library and TownVibe.

MAY 4: BIRDHOUSE DECORATING CONTEST

Thrown Stone gave away over 50 birdhouse building kits at the Free Spring Fling. Competitors were displayed and voted on at Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance during Downtown Ridgefield’s Spring Stroll. Winning entries were displayed throughout the summer at the Ridgefield Library.

MAY 11: CIVILITY AT HOME

A Community Conversation with Will Haskell and Harry Arora at the Ridgefield Library, explored the idea of civility in private — through the eyes of two public figures from different sides of the aisle. Co-sponsored by TownVibe.

JULY 29: MEET THE PLAYWRIGHTS

A discussion with playwrights Molly Smith Metzler and Anna Moench, led by SPACE on Ryder Farm founder Emily Simoness at the Ridgefield Library.

JULY 23: EXPRESSING MOTHERHOOD

Since 2008, moms have been sharing their stories at Expressing Motherhood performances across the country. Thrown Stone hosted the Connecticut Premiere at Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance.

JULY 26: BIRD IS THE WORD

A pre-show exhibition with noted Audubon collector, Joel Third. Charles Stebbins co-hosted and introduced the audience to two of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s ambassador owls.

JULY 14 & AUGUST 1: TALKBACKS

Led by poet and educator Barb Jennes and Andrew Levine, Managing Director of the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, Talkbacks unpacked the themes and context of each play, followed by an audience Q&A with the actors, directors, and crew.

Leaps of Fate

2020 Season Preview 

Thrown Stone’s 2020 season features two new plays about our time and our destiny.

It begins with the Rolling World Premiere of Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven by Reina Hardy, opening July 9th. Annie Jump is produced at Thrown Stone Theatre Company as a part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Other partnering theaters are Renaissance Theaterworks (Wisconsin), Rorschach Theatre (DC), and Vortex Theatre (Texas). For more information please visit nnpn.org.

The U.S. Premiere of The Phlebotomist by Ella Road opens the following week on July 16th. The Phlebotomist was a finalist for the 2018-2019 Susan Smith Blackburn prize and was nominated for the Lawrence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Tickets for both productions go on sale April 20, 2020.

Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven by Reina HardyA 13-year-old science genius makes first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, but being the Chosen One isn’t all glory. Thrown Stone’s first all-ages production is a sharp, sweet, and erudite comedy that asks big questions about family, friendship, and what it means to be special in our corner of the universe. Directed by Jason Peck.

 

The PhlebotomistIn a world where health, wealth, and happiness depend on one single genetic test — dictating everything from credit rating to dating prospects — phlebotomy reigns supreme. But how far will people go to beat the system? Ella Road’s provocative first play forces us to question the value we place on one another, whether knowledge really is power, and if love truly can conquer all. Appropriate for ages 14 and up. Directed by Tracy Brigden.

SEASON UNDERWRITERS

Thrown Stone thanks 2020 Season Underwriters, The Leir Foundation and the Daniel E. Offutt III Charitable Trust for their generous and visionary support of new theatre.

Daniel Offutt

ACCESSIBILITY

Thrown Stone strongly believes the arts are for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. With support from the Offutt Charitable Trust, Thrown Stone will offer free tickets to select student and community groups and a block of subsidized low-cost tickets for every regular performance in 2020. These subsidized tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to all audiences when tickets go on sale in April 2020. Groups interested in reserving free tickets under the Arts Access initiative are invited to contact us.

COMPANY NEWS 

Artistic AssociatesWELCOME OUR NEW ARTISTIC ASSOCIATES

In October of 2019, Thrown Stone welcomed four new Artistic Associates: Theresa Carroll, Richard Harrison, Aaron Klein, and Maria McConville. An Artistic Associate is a company member who is involved in executing all aspects of Thrown Stone’s mission.

These exceptional individuals devote their skills in production, fundraising, marketing, education, audience development, and administration to help grow and develop the company on a year-round basis.

Artists who have worked with Thrown Stone for at least one season and commit to our vision, mission, and values may become Artistic Associates by special invitation.

Actors' Equity Association 1913

SPT YEAR TWO

In 2020, Thrown Stone enters its second year as an Actor’s Equity Association Small Professional Theatre (SPT). Our three-year transitional agreement with the union requires health and pension payments to union actors in year two, which represents a significant expansion of our payroll. We are grateful to our supporters and underwriters for making this possible, and we thank Actors’ Equity for creating this program for nascent professional companies to help grow their capacity and fulfill their obligations to working actors and stage managers.

Scholars

SCHOLARS

Thrown Stone’s interns get a hands-on education in the production of world-class, cutting-edge theatre. The Offutt Charitable Trust has underwritten the stipends of four 2020 interns selected from local high schools and colleges.

Working closely with professional artists, students learn how to solve problems and collaborate across disciplines in pursuit of a shared objective. Skills and knowledge acquired intersect with every STEAM subject and apply to any vocation. In addition to gaining valuable workplace experience, interns learn how to participate in a collaborative culture and develop good professional habits, such as timeliness and accountability.

Thrown Stone’s company culture and work environment emphasize safety, kindness, and respect. Mentorship is part of the theatrical tradition, and interns receive weekly coaching on any subject, including college, career, and personal development. Interns also gain valuable experience in entre­preneurship and community-building by participating in an agile arts startup.

We are proud to help cultivate the creative leaders of the future, and with your support we can continue to grow this program.

Development

READING SERIES

New work is the heart of our mission. This year we embark upon a reading series with plays in various stages of development.

In a staged reading, an unproduced new play is selected, rehearsed, and presented before an invited audience. Staged readings are a highly rewarding experience for audiences, who witness and participate in the process of creating new work that may have a future life in theatres around the world.

We aspire to take an active role in the growth of these scripts, working closely with playwrights to refine and elevate their pieces, while offering our audiences a chance to contribute to the conversation through post-performance discussions with each playwright.

These readings will take place in unique area venues, introducing us to new audiences and offering us a chance to draw a larger and more diverse group of theatre-lovers to Ridgefield.

Not limited to the work of established playwrights, the Development Initiative will also present opportunities to early-career dramatists. We began the series in November at the Ridgefield Library with a reading of Willing by Ridgefield native Claire Glubiak, directed by Artistic Associate Aaron Klein. More readings of new plays will be announced in 2020, to be performed in Ridgefield and the surrounding communities.

Artistic Associate and Company Development Manager Gina Pulice will produce the series.

Facts 

MISSION

To engage our region with new and reimagined theatre in intimate settings, creating a body of work that moves, connects, and challenges all who join the conversation.

PERSONNEL

Jason Peck & Jonathan Winn,
Co-Artistic Directors

Gina Pulice, Artistic Associate/
Company Development Manager

Theresa Caroll, Artistic Associate
Richard Harrison, Artistic Associate
Aaron Klein, Artistic Associate
Maria McConville, Artistic Associate

GOVERNANCE

Thrown Stone is a 501(c)(3) organization.
EIN: 81-1683094.
D-U-N-S Number: 080603526.

2017-2019 IRS Form 990, Bylaws, Conflict Of Interest Policy, and Sexual Harassment Policy available upon request.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Although our production costs increased in 2019, we were able to end the year with a surplus, thanks to increased ticket sales and the generosity of our donors and sponsors.

Traditionally, tickets and concession sales make up only a small part of the income of a theatre company. In 2019, we earned $36,100 in income from tickets and concessions vs. total expenses of $121,500 to develop, market, and present two productions, so we rely on cash and in-kind donations (media, rehearsal space, artist housing, services, and auction/concession items) to cover our operating expenses.

Of our expenses, 92% represents the direct costs of presenting our two plays — artist and other salaries, production, space rental, and marketing costs. The other 8% represents development and general operating costs.

We anticipate a substantial increase in our 2020 expenses due to an increase in the number of artists and staff, as well as higher production costs — including health and pension payments now required by Actors’ Equity — so we are counting on your support again to help us produce two new plays in our fourth season.

FINANCIAL SUMMARY

 ExpensesNet Assets
2016$8,600$2,800
2017$64,800$14,700
2018$100,400$25,500
2019$122,300$41,500
2020 EST.$170,600$27,300

2019 Income

AIn-Kind Donations$44,500
BDonations and Grants$54,100
CTicket Sales and Concessions$36,600
 Total$135,200

2019 Expenses

AProduction, Space Rental, Marketing$60,100
BArtist and Other Salaries$52,500
CDevelopment$6,700
DGeneral Operating$3,000
 Total$122,300

92% of our expenses go directly into our programs

HISTORY

2016

Debut Summer Reading Series: The Fields of Blue and Glow by August Schulenberg and Blink by Kate Moira Ryan at the Ridgefield Library

Chekhov International Theatre Festival staged reading of Milk by Ross Dunsmore

2017

The U.S. Premiere of Milk by Ross Dunsmore at Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance

Chekhov International Theatre Festival staged reading of The Butcher by Gwydion Suilebhan

2018

The New England Premiere of The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger and The East Coast Premiere of Where All Good Rabbits Go by Karina Cochran, in repertory at Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance

2019

The Connecticut Premiere of Cry it Out by Molly Smith Metzler and The New England Premiere of Birds of North America by Anna Moench, in repertory at Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance

Staged reading of Willing by Claire Glubiak at the Ridgefield Library

FUTURE PLANS

2020

The Rolling World Premiere of Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven by Reina Hardy and the U.S. Premiere of The Phlebotomist by Ella Road;

Additional staged readings to be held throughout the region

2019 Partners

Media Partners

TownVibe*
HamletHub*

Producing ($5,000+)

The Burry Fredrik Foundation
The Leir Foundation

Sustaining ($2,500+)

Barts Tree Service*
callmike.co*

Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts

Ridgefield Apartments*
Ridgefield Chorale*
Ridgefield Drive UR Car Service*
The Village Tavern*

Contributing ($1,000+)

Allstate Insurance Agent:
R Friedlander Agency

The Ancient Mariner
Colonial Cleaners*
The Connecticut Audubon Society
Fairfield County Bank
The Wadsworth R. Lewis Fund
Litchfield Distillery
Ridgefield Thrift Shop
TerraSole Ristorante*
WSHU Public Radio

Supporting ($500+)

Bailey’s Backyard*
Blue Hammer Creative*
Cellar XV Wine Market*
Chuck Jennes Photography*
Dimitri’s Diner*
Nod Hill Brewery*
Squash’s Ridgefield Office Supply*
Sweetwater Sound*

Sharing ($250+)

850° Wood Fired Restaurant
Lesser Evil Snacks*
Nature’s Temptations*
Tequila Escape*

Advertisers ($100+)

Caraluzzi’s Market*
Madison Square Garden*
Two Roads Brewing*

2020 Underwriters

The Leir Foundation

The Daniel E. Offutt III
Charitable Trust

2019 Individual Donors

Anonymous

Diamond ($2,500+)

Liz & Steven Goldstone
Jon & Kim Jodka
Keitha Kinne & Daniela Sikora*
Gina Pulice & Aaron Krasner*

Sapphire ($1,000+)

Christine & Jeff Boris
Karen & Rich Calo
Andrew Levine & Jeanine Pardey
Dean & Theresa Miller
Robert & Vicki Trainer*
The Tyler Family
Alicia & Bob Wyckoff
Jonathan Winn & Amanda Curtin

Emerald ($500+)

Elly Brown-Riley
Jennifer Dineen
Diana Glubiak
Barb Jennes
Jeff Krulwich
Shiva Sarram
Jeremy Sawruk*
James Steele
Joel Third*

Aquamarine ($100+)

Brian Gillespie
Patricia Kekedjian
Susan Klein

Wynter Kullman
& Jeffrey Warshaw

Vanessa Landegger
Terrence Mahon
Jessica Jane Mancini*
Robert Mars*
Marc Monte
Network for Good
Jason & Alana Peck
Peter Sorenson
Allison Stockel
Thanh Tran
Fred Turpin

Amethyst ($50+)

Derek Aframe
Theresa Carroll
Greg Curtin
Amy Day
Jennifer DiLaura
Debra Franceschini-Gatje
Alison Greeley
Jennifer Mayer
Jennifer McGinnis
Gwyn McColl
Eileen Peterson
Nancy Rowe
Ray Simmons
Maria Stofka
Angela Whitford
Rachel Wimpee

Quartz ($25+)

Phyllis Appel
Hilary Aronow
Barbara Distinti
Stephanie Hazard
Barbara Jennes
Chloe Kekedjian
Brenda McKinley
Clare Parme
Amy Piantaggini
Melissa Smith
Vivian Sorvall
Betsy Thompson
Beth Yavenditti

Collaborators

Ann’s Place
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County
Harvard Business School Community Partners
Chekhov Theatre Festival
National New Play Network
Ridgefield Arts Council
Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Ridgefield Chorale
Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance

Ridgefield Economic and Community Development Commission

Ridgefield Parks and Recreation
Ridgefield Library
Women’s Center of Danbury
Woodcock Nature Center

2019 Volunteers

Cheryl Anne Boyd
Kathryn Girardot
Nick Jodka
Kristin Kingsley
Dean & Theresa Miller
Jeanine Pardey Levine
Tess Riley

Special Thanks

Richard Baldelli
John Conners
Jennifer DiLaura
Jennifer Dineen
Andy Forsythe
Rodgers Harper
Chuck & Barb Jennes
Jon & Kim Jodka
Jeff & Linda Krulwich
Lesley Lambton
Rudy Marconi
Dean & Theresa Miller
Geoffrey Morris
Amy Piantaggini
Adam Schnell

The Sheen Center
for Thought and Culture

St. Luke’s School
James Steele
Allison Stockel
Howard Turner
Alicia & Bob Wyckoff

LEARN MORE 

Thank you for being part of the Thrown Stone Family

* Includes in-kind donation of goods or services

We apologize for any errors or omissions — please email us with any corrections or if you wish to remain anonymous in the future.

FROM THE PLAYWRIGHTS 

“Working with Thrown Stone was a fantastic experience for me. They reached out, took a risk, and I’m deeply grateful for the connection they made with a fellow artist far away.” — Ross Dunsmore, Milk, 2017

“I wish that all theaters were as exuberant and innovative as Thrown Stone. They understand that both today’s audiences and the future of the American theatre rest on producing a wide-range of new work that exemplifies the breadth, depth, and spirit of the American experience.” — Jacqueline Goldfinger, The Arsonists, 2018

“I am so grateful for my experience with Thrown Stone. The whole performance was a dream. I was thrilled with the level of talent they were able to bring in, from the set design to the actors. They really tried to find ways to make the production benefit the writer, and they saw the script to its fullest vision.” — Karina Cochran, Where All Good Rabbits Go, 2018

“Thrown Stone is an incredibly dedicated group of artists who champion complex, vital new work. I was so honored to have a play in their season, and although I live far from Connecticut, I felt very included in the process and production. Every writer should send them plays!” — Anna Moench, Birds of North America, 2019

“Jason and Jonathan clearly create an environment that demands integrity, and it shows: Thrown Stone has quickly established itself as a true playwright’s theater, where today’s playwrights WANT to be programmed. I am very grateful to Thrown Stone for having me, and I’ll be very eager to work with them again!” — Molly Smith Metzler, Cry It Out, 2019