Founded in 2011, Old Hat is a Brooklyn-based classical theatre company comprised of actors, academics, designers, musicians, and writers. Our diverse artistic backgrounds are reflected in our work. We are dedicated to producing Shakespeare and other classical works in fresh, imaginative ways, faithful to the original texts. Our unique contribution to non-profit theater starts with our unifying belief that classical theater can be rigorous and exciting, meaningful and joyful, old and new.
Our past projects include Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and our original adaptations of Chekhov short stories. We have worked in interesting spaces around Brooklyn, from an old bathhouse in Gowanus to a 19th-century parlor on Prospect Park West. Each production is sensitive to its surroundings. Whatever the venue, we aim to use it fully, so that the work emerges naturally from the room. While our design concepts do vary, our work is characterized by an organic quality, with striking stage pictures, detailed performances, and specific use of time and place to create atmosphere.
One of our primary goals is to promote ensemble-driven work that embraces complexity and explores marginalized figures in the world of a play. Many of the works we take on have become so enshrined, and their performance traditions so entrenched in a privileged worldview, that their revolutionary potential is fading. We believe that the best classical works are those that question power structures, by insisting on the humanity of all the characters and calling to our attention the silenced voices. We look at these works with fresh eyes and highlight the ways in which they illicit empathy.
We want to make theater that confronts political ideas, illuminates profound psychology and poetry, and promotes analysis and literacy and debate. It is vital for young people to discover and stay connected to the wisdom of great literature and for all people to have access to affordable, challenging classical theater.