RTC: Past, Present and Future
Ask anyone in Brooklyn and Queens about where to find high-quality community
theatre and they will tell you the Rockaway Theatre Company. Founded in 1997,
Rockaway Theatre Company (RTC) performed a number of plays at the Park Place
Seaport Theatre in Rockaway Beach until the venue closed suddenly in September
Losing a venue might be a fatal blow to the average young business; however, the
resilient Rockaway Theatre Company wasn’t going to go down without a fight! The
RTC Board of Directors approached the administrators of Fort Tilden regarding the
use of a room with a stage. It was on this day that a partnership was born... and on
October 31, 1997, the RTC performed their first performance in Partnership with
Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden in Building T-149. The new space
boasted a raised stage, limited wing space and a large seating area.
With permission from our new partners, RTC began working on what would become
one of the most critical expansions... the move to the Post Theatre (building T-4) on
the Fort Tilden grounds. After the first production ended, RTC Staff and volunteers
began cleaning up the Post Theatre. The Post Theatre was once a movie theatre on
the Fort Tilden Army Base and since its closure has been long unused. The
Rockaway Theatre Company entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with
Gateway National Recreation Area giving us permission to perform live theatre in
exchange for restoring and renovating the building.
Over the next nineteen years, renovations to the Post Theatre would include
removing seats that were damaged beyond repair, cleaning and refurbishing all 234
seats in the house, extending the movie theatre stage to make room for actors,
installation of a curtain, two traveler curtains and a proscenium arch, installation of
modern theatrical lighting and sound systems, a complete overhaul of the dressing
room, a roof replacement, installation of commercial Heating and Air Conditioning,
and a complete renovation of the restrooms and lobby. All of these renovations had
to be done twice: When we first took possession of our present building and again in
2012 after we were hit by Super-storm Sandy.
All improvement and updates have been paid for by funding from ticket sales,
fundraising efforts and grants. Luckily, we have an extremely talented group of
volunteers. Our volunteers perform the vast majority of the work that needs to be
done to the theatre, allowing us to save on labor costs.
Of course, all of these renovations were not done prior to opening the first
production... the first production at the Post Theatre opened in June of 1998. At the
time, there was no running water, working bathrooms, heat or A/C, thus the
audience members for the first two seasons suffered some serious inconveniences.
Having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, the RTC is stronger than ever. We have
earned a widespread reputation for Broadway quality theatre, in the heart of the
Rockaways. Our patrons come from areas beyond Rockaway; some of our most loyal customers travel from areas in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Long Island,
Connecticut, Westchester County as well as all four of the other boroughs of New
York City to see our performances. Some of these performances include large
musical productions such as Oklahoma!, Bye, Bye Birdie, and A Chorus Line, La
Cage Au Folles, The Producers, Guys and Dolls and Damn Yankees to name a few.
Non-musical main stage productions include Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Odd
Couple, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rumors, The Elephant Man, Plaza Suite
and Steel Magnolias.
For a full listing of our past productions, please feel free to visit our photo gallery.
Not only has the RTC built a reputation for high-quality theatre, but we have developed a first-rate educational program providing an ever increasing and more
diversified selection of workshops in various areas of theatre and performing arts.
We have established a Young People’s Theatre Workshop which runs for five
months of the year and culminates with a Broadway Quality musical production
performed on the main stage, entirely by workshop students. These classes are
offered to students between the ages of 8 and 18. During the 2018 season the
youngsters in our Children’s Class will perform The Lion King, Jr. Members of the
Teen Workshop will perform Once on This Island Jr.
We also offer a wide variety of Adult Seminars centering around the arts,
performance and various technical aspects of theater. These workshops include:
dance (Tap, Jazz & Ballroom), Zumba, Acting, Vocal, Stage Management, Costume
Design, Yoga, Set Construction, Sound Design, Watercolor, Photography and
All of our workshop and seminar classes are taught by Licensed Teaching
Professionals and/or professionals who have a great deal of experience in their
craft. Some of our teaching staff includes New York City Licensed Teachers,
College professors, Actors who have appeared on television and main stage
performances both on and off Broadway, and Performers who have worked in
professional Opera and been involved in National Tours of Broadway Musicals.
We continuously work at our long term goal of creating a superior year-round
theatrical season at the Post Theatre, expanding on our exciting array of educational
programs and increasing our list of patrons and supporters. Our overall mission is
summed up in our motto: “Bringing Broadway to Rockaway.”