Founding Artistic Director Shakina Nayfack launched Musical Theatre Factory (MTF) in January 2014 as a collective for early-career musical theatre makers interested in changing the way new musicals are developed in New York City. Through a series of community brainstorms, MTF developed a series of unique programs known today as the Assembly Line; a process that includes readings, concerts, workshops, and public performances – all at no cost to the artists. With an 18-month gift of subsidized space, founding MTF artists built a 780 square-foot blackbox theater in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The original Musical Theatre Factory opened its doors to the public on May 31, 2014. Since then, our administrative staff – comprised of three full-time directors and a handful of part-time volunteers – has worked to keep every gear of the factory turning. In our first three years of programming, MTF has assisted with the development of over 110 new musicals with more than 900 volunteers contributing over 15,000 combined hours of service.
Today, the organization is a Resident Company of Playwrights Horizons, which provides MTF with access to office, rehearsal, and performance space. MTF also partners with a number of organizations throughout NYC, including Joe’s Pub, The People’s Improv Theatre, Funkadelic Studios, and Poetic Theatre Productions. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Mei Ann Teo, MTF continues to shape an inclusive canon of new American musicals that reflect and celebrate the diversity in today’s world while pushing the form of musical theatre, and taking musicals into multimedia and digital spaces.
Musical Theatre Factory was selected as the second company to join Playwrights Horizons’ Company Residency Program. The residency provides office, rehearsal, and performance space for theatre companies which, like Playwrights Horizons, are dedicated to creating new works. MTF’s volunteer staff will also have the opportunity to be mentored by the staff at Playwrights Horizons. The residency will run through the summer 2019 at Playwrights Horizons’ downtown location—440 Lafayette Street, which currently houses the Playwrights Theatre School.