Beginning with the 2018-2019 season this summer, Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company (MU) will say goodbye to its longtime home in Spring Street Studios and move to Montrose, where The Classical Theatre Company has generously provided the company a new home in the Chelsea Market performance space. In addition to the move, MU will produce a shorter season of two main stage plays plus the annual Museum of Dysfunction short play festival in order to accommodate a greater focus on developing programs that engage the community in different ways.
Since it began in 2001, Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company has existed on a shoestring budget, relying largely on grants and small, individual donations. With a cadre of local artists who get paid per production, the two person volunteer based staff has recently struggled to churn out four high-quality productions each year while maintaining the black box theatre, Studio 101.
“Achieving a shared space as a home base was a huge accomplishment for an organization with our budget size,” said artistic director Jennifer Decker. “However, it has required too much of our funding spent on overhead. After Hurricane Harvey stunted our fundraiser this August, we took a hard look at our situation and decided we would rather be able to continue to bring you the high quality of productions we are known for producing and also continue to pay our artists, rather than spending the majority of our budget on the ongoing rent and maintenance of a space.
“We will continue to support the work of women in theatre through our productions in the new location, as well as expanding our reach to include some non-traditional performances that encourage women’s voices to be heard in all areas of performance art.”
The company finishes its 2017- 18 season at Studio 101 with Tony award-winning playwright Lisa Kron’s Well in January and Don Nigro’s collection of gothic shorts, Dark Matter, in March. Museum of Dysfunction X, the company’s annual short play festival, will be MU’s debut show at Chelsea Market.