At the core of Emit Theatre is a dedication to inclusive learning through the arts, placing artists and audiences side by side to provide one-of-a-kind opportunities for wonder and discovery. Emit is an interactive educational theatre company committed to sharing high-quality arts experiences with diverse young audiences in non-traditional settings and unique, ADA compliant spaces. By crafting portable productions lifted from Shakespearean texts as well as innovative new works, we invite each audience member to approach our immersive productions from their own curiosity.
Emit Theatre is a 501c3 organization originally founded by Gianna Cioffi, Amy Frey, Jo’Lisa Jones, and Amanda Urban, formed from a desire to create immersive theater that held education at its core and could be easily shared in order to impact as many people as possible. The collaboration began with an immersive production of Romeo and Juliet at BrooklynONE as part of the Brooklyn Shakespeare Festival. The production closed after an extended run and uniformly positive reviews.
Drawing from their diverse experiences in both interactive theatre and education, the team saw the potential for the immersive format to be used to educate students struggling with literacy comprehension. Their theory was put to the test as part of Gianna and Amanda's master's thesis project at The City College of New York. Using previous productions as a template, this version of Romeo and Juliet was specifically crafted to appeal to the average high school student. The project sought to create greater connection between the students and the characters in order to maximize comprehension. The research was awarded the Edward W. Stitt Memorial Fund grant for demonstrating excellence in research in an educational field in 2016.
Propelled by the data findings and the audience response of the first phases of the project, Emit Theatre was officially formed. Since 2017, Emit has produced Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night's Dream for student and community groups as well as the general public. In addition, the company has produced three original productions, including two escape rooms. We have worked with about 1000 students across 10 schools and three boroughs, and we strive to continue to expand our reach.