To take audiences to the vital heart of the theatre experience: extraordinary artists in an intimate setting exploring the human condition.
We present powerful productions of classic and modern plays and musicals, offered to the community at affordable, neighborhood prices. Our work is fueled by the highest caliber acting and design, scripts that put real people out there on the stark edges of life, and a directing approach that honors clear, authentic storytelling.
The Keegan Theatre believes that any open and honest exploration of the human condition requires active promotion of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism. It is only through a commitment to these critical tenets, on both an individual and an institutional level, that artists, patrons, students, and arts advocates can continuously learn, create, and connect in an environment free from the insidious and debilitating effects of prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization.
The Keegan Theatre rests on a foundation of three core artistic beliefs: that the theatre, as an art form, succeeds only in so far as it presents an honest, pure exploration of the human condition; that American audiences can be profoundly enhanced by the richness and depth of Ireland’s theatrical tradition – and vice versa; and that all people deserve the opportunity to safely explore and freely develop their creative potential.
Keegan’s founding members share a deep personal commitment to producing theatre the way we believe theatre should be done – by allowing actors to bring their own experience and energy to the process and encouraging them to explore the text freely; by hiring directors who promote such exploration and who are committed to an open, participatory process; by maintaining an artistic sensibility that favors story over “concept,” clarity over production, and honesty over gimmick; and by selecting works by playwrights who have captured the poetry and rawness of language, playwrights unafraid to explore the recesses of the human condition. By holding fast to these principles, we believe that the theatre we create reaches our audiences in a distinctive, compelling way.
The Irish heritage of Keegan’s Producing Artistic Director, Mark A. Rhea, played a pivotal role in the direction the company has developed, and in the uniquely important niche we have carved out in the theater community. Rhea’s intense personal connection to and passion for the Irish people inspired The Keegan Theatre to include in our mission statement a commitment to produce at least one Irish play per season. This commitment has deepened and grown over time to become a defining characteristic of Keegan, a legacy that continues to grow as Keegan’s relationships with our colleagues in deepen.
Planting the seeds of opportunity in a fertile creative mind, nurturing a young artist to his or her full potential – this is hard work, work that requires an open mind, patience, and dedication. We believe this work is vital to the growth of the community at large. Keegan staff are characterized by our personal experience in and passion for youth development. We are committed to the development of the community by aggressively searching for and nurturing new, local talent and by working with local educational institutions to identify and develop budding artists. A number of our “intern alumni” are either pursuing undergraduate degrees in theatre or currently working on local professional stages. We believe that the arts has a critical role to play in the development of young people and that Keegan can support and nurture budding artists, encouraging them to pursue these dreams (whether as a vocation or avocation). Each year, we see the kids with whom we work grow in their craft and commitment to it. This is why we work with youth.
Published June 19, 2020
Horrific recent events have put the harm of systemic racism against black people into sharper focus for so many in our industry and in our society. In response, The Keegan Theatre commits to fostering an anti-racist environment in which artists, patrons, students, and arts advocates from all backgrounds can create and connect without the insidious and debilitating effects of prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization.
Racism in all its forms is antithetical to this commitment. We acknowledge that racism occurs with and without malicious intent, often as a result of unconscious bias, and that the effects of racism are caused not only by the isolated actions of individuals, but also by the policies and practices of institutions. Whether intentional or unintentional, individual or institutional, racism is harmful and dehumanizing and has adverse effects on our community.
We recognize that we must amplify and accelerate our commitment to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion while expanding and strengthening our commitment to anti-racism at The Keegan Theatre. We stand committed:
We understand that racism is deeply and intensely embedded in our country’s culture and that there is much work to be done in order to achieve racial equity in the arts and in our society at large. We are resolved in our commitment to anti-racism and will work to support those leading our community and our country in this movement for justice.
The first show ever produced by The Keegan Theatre was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Church Street Theater in 1996. Guided by the principles of boldness and honesty, the young company presented stories about humanity in an intimate setting, attracting and embracing artists who valued honest storytelling above all and earning overwhelming support and sold-out audiences.
In 2009, the Church Street Theater became Keegan’s official home, making The Keegan Theatre the resident theatre company of Dupont Circle. In 2013, thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, Keegan purchased the Church Street Theater, renamed it The Andrew Keegan Theatre, and launched the “In Good Company” Capital Campaign to raise the funds needed to modernize the building through a major renovation project. Ground was broken on the project in 2014, and in 2015, The Andrew Keegan Theatre was officially reopened with a new production of the vital play that originally put the company on the map – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
In 1999, as part of a unique vision to bridge theatrical traditions of America and Ireland, fueled by the conviction that the cultures of both countries could be enriched through their connection, The Keegan Theatre toured an American classic, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Ireland. The inaugural tour earned high praise and the tradition continued. Productions have played to enthusiastic audiences from Galway to Letterkenny over 4-8 week tours almost every year since, forging a strong bond between the two rich cultures.
Today, The Keegan Theatre is still guided by the principles on which it was founded: powerful productions of classic and modern plays and musicals fueled by the highest caliber acting and design, intense personal staging, scripts that put real people out there on the stark edges of life, and a directing approach that respects straightforward storytelling rather than concepts that too often just get in the way.
Ever a bold champion of fearless new works, Keegan has produced dozens of world, American, and DC-area premieres and continues to explore the theatre of tomorrow through its Boiler Room Series, a unique initiative dedicated to new works and unique performances, and encourage the artists of tomorrow through Keegan PLAY-RAH-KA, a youth- and family-focused initiative which offers creative classes, camps, and exploratory experiences for young people and emerging artists and theatrical experiences for families to enjoy together.
With a bold, forward-looking spirit, a respected professional company that’s bound like family, including actors, designers, directors, playwrights, and leadership, and a dedicated community of sponsors, donors, and volunteers, Keegan can promise that audiences are always surely “in good company.”