July 26, 2016. Hartford, Connecticut.
Bated Breath Theatre Company is pleased to announce receipt of a grant from The William and Alice Mortensen Foundation. The grant will help promote Bated Breath’s continued growth and sustainability by providing the services and equipment needed to ensure professionalism and deliver the greatest impact to audiences and collaborators.
Increased operating support has already resulted in the development of Beneath the Gavel, an audience participatory art auction performance about the art market developed with New Britain Museum of American Art in March, 2016. Beneath the Gavel will transfer to New York City’s Off-Broadway for a full run starting in March 2017. Other upcoming collaborations include the development of a short piece to be presented at the New England Museum Association Annual Conference in November where Bated Breath will be part of the keynote presentation.
Bated Breath Theatre Company’s goal is to partner with area museums to create unforgettable performances inspired by museum exhibitions and performed in the museum space. Their performances break down the invisible, if inevitable barrier between the audience and the material on exhibit through interpretive performances that engage almost all of the senses and bring relevance to exhibits without traditional methods of explanation. Part of Bated Breath’s mission is to use theatre to help reverse the decline in museum attendance and work in collaboration with museums to help increase audience engagement.
Bated Breath recently received a three-year $50,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to hire a full-time, Executive Artistic Director to allow the organization to expand its offerings to more audiences in museums and other art spaces throughout the region. The William and Alice Mortensen Foundation grant builds on this funding and helps to ensure that the administrative infrastructure is strong and can sustain the company as it experiences significant growth.
With a full-time, paid Executive Artistic Director, Bated Breath is better able to focus on the development of the company and provide management and leadership oversight for operations, staff and volunteers. The director also leads fundraising and communications efforts, collaborates with other organizations to develop and produce these projects, directs new works, and leads the touring of works that have been originally created for a museum and transfer to other performance venues.
“Our collaborations with museums have always had the potential to reinvigorate both theatre and other struggling art forms in a single event,” said Executive Artistic Director Lieberman, “but we have always been limited because we didn’t have a full-time staff person to put the partnerships together. The Mortensen Foundation’s generosity will make it possible for us to create more unforgettable experiences in collaborations with the leading cultural institutions in our region."
Bated Breath Theatre Company was founded in 2008 as a small, volunteer-run theatre company bringing theatrical performances to the Greater Hartford area. Under the direction of its Executive Artistic Director, Mara Lieberman, the company now develops shorter performance pieces presented in the context of a gallery, museum exhibit or other cultural/public event. Called “Interludes”, these productions feature actors performing pieces intended to interpret works of art to break down the barriers between the viewer and the artwork on display. Bated Breath has seen its audiences more than double over the past several years in partnerships with The Wadsworth Atheneum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, Real Art Ways to name a few. In 2015, Bated Breath received an Award of Merit from the Connecticut Leauge of History Organizations for their collaboration with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture entitled, Freedom: In 3 Acts, inspired by the Emancipation! exhibition.