Studio History

Now in its 41st season, Studio has carved out a distinctive place for itself by investing in excellence up close and by producing plays of big ideas on a human scale—plays that challenge assumptions, spark conversations, and offer both surprise and connection. Over its four decades, Studio has produced an eclectic mix of works that reflect the contemporary world, offering a repertoire of provocative new and contemporary writing from around the world and inventive stagings of contemporary classics.

1978

Joy Zinoman founded Studio Theatre in 1978, an outgrowth of the acting conservatory she founded three years prior. Over four decades, Studio has expanded its operations while maintaining the signature intimacy of its theatres. Studio launched its pilot season in a theatre on Rhode Island Avenue, spent eight years in a rented space on Church Street, opened a theatre on the corner of 14th and P Streets in 1987, and gradually expanded that footprint to include the current four theatres it owns and operates. Deeply committed to a powerful exchange between actor and audience member throughout that history, none of its theatres has ever seated more than 225 patrons.

2010

Founding Artistic Director Joy Zinoman retired in 2010 after leading Studio for more than 30 years. Over the last 10 seasons under the leadership of Artistic Director David Muse, Studio has built on its history of stunning productions of remarkable contemporary plays in intimate spaces, while expanding its commitment to developing new work with contemporary writers. Since 2011, when Studio began incorporating new play development into its artistic programming, Studio has commissioned 20 artists and premiered 14 new plays, most of these through Studio R&D, its new work incubator.

2015

In 2015, Muse introduced Studio X, a new umbrella for a wide variety of productions that sits alongside the Main Series, the core group of plays that have formed the backbone of Studio’s programming for decades. Studio X is a consolidation and outgrowth of the type of work Studio produced in its former Lab, Special Events, and 2ndStage programming streams, a home for projects that break new ground in their style or content.