New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

On Monday, January 9, actor and arts education advocate Ben Vereen presented our Director of Artistic Programming Mary Rose Lloyd with the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming. Mary received this honor from her peers at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, the world's largest forum of international presenters, artists, managers, agents and arts leaders. We applaud her remarkable achievement in redefining quality performing arts for young people through her 20 years of spirited, revelatory and bold curatorial work at The New Victory Theater.​ These are her remarks on the importance of quality theatrical programming for kids. 
Mary Rose Lloyd at APAP
L to R: Laurie Anderson, Mikki Shepherd, APAP Board Chair Dr. Michael Blachly, Mary Rose Lloyd, APAP President and CEO Mario Garcia Durham, Laura Colby, Michele Roberge

I am, on behalf of the entire New Victory Theater team, so deeply honored to receive an artistic programming award from this group who I revere so much and with whom I've been a part since my grad school days in the 90s. (When I was 14 of course.)

Back then I didn't really know what a presenter was until I was lucky enough to get to work with Joe Melillo at BAM and learn from the absolute very best. As a mentor, Joe opened my eyes to the possibilities of curating wonderful work for specific spaces...matching artists to venues & communities, both nationally and internationally. My experience as a presenter grew even more meaningful when I was hired by the remarkable Cora Cahan, President of the New 42nd Street. The New Victory Theater is one of seven historic theaters located between 7th and 8th Avenues, theaters which comprise the whole of the "New" 42nd Street, here in New York. Cora and the Board of the New 42 had the original vision to establish, in one of those theaters, what was–incredibly–missing from the landscape of New York culture–a theater dedicated solely to presenting the very best work from around the world for young audiences and families.

Now, here, well over 20 years later, it means so much to us, and to the entire field of live arts for young people, that the New Victory is being honored for our artistic programming in this incredibly important field. As a matter of fact, this whole week there has seen a swelling of passionate conversation around the importance of quality performing arts in the lives of children. From the APAP/IPAY pre-conference workshop last Thursday led by the inspiring Sarah McCarthy and Boomer Stacey, to the 6th annual conversation on theater for young audiences led by the indomitable Monique Martin on Friday, to the weekend symposium on #CreatingQualityTYA co-hosted by the American Alliance of Theater Educators and the New Victory, topped off today, where focus is placed on artistic excellence in programming for young audiences. I have collaborated with this tribe of indefatigable heroes and advocates for the creation of compelling performing arts for people of all ages.
Mary Rose Lloyd with Ben Vereen
Mary Rose Lloyd with Ben Vereen

Here's the bottom line: it is our job to support, make and/or present bold, extraordinary, visionary work for young audiences. Work that tells their stories and reflects their worlds. Every child has the right to have access to this work now, I'd offer, more than ever. It is vital the we champion the building of and caring for our children's humanity, their ability to feel empathy and to be curious about their fellow, global citizens of this world. The platform of theater is a great way to do this. Not only to create "future" audiences, but to also respect the intelligence and the imaginations of young people now, and make work for them to absorb now. We must reflect in this work the diversity of our children, celebrate our differences, so that everyone, every child over these next few years, whether gay, straight, trans, black, white, Latino, mid-western, southern, east or west coast feels they have an equal place in this world and can utilize the power of artistic expression to fight ignorance. So spread the word. Encourage our best, brightest, most incendiary artists that there need not be a demarcation line between the quality or the intensity of work made for adults as that made for young people.

In closing, I'll just say that you’re most likely a fan of the New Vic because when you were young you were either a part of a show, in an audience of a show or were part of a family who provided cultural experiences for their children. Don't lose sight of that child you once were. Take that child into the great, good work you do and connect with the youngest folks in your audiences to the end of your–and their–imaginations and back.

Mary Rose Lloyd Read more about Mary Rose Lloyd in a blog celebrating her 20 incredible years at The New Victory Theater!

Mary Rose Lloyd, the Director of Artistic Programming at The New Victory Theater, has spent the past twenty years curating work for the New Victory stage. Starting in 1996, Mary has crisscrossed the globe seeing shows, attending conferences and festivals and connecting with countless artists. She has served on the Boards of Directors for both TYA/USA and International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) and is the recipient of IPAY's Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award. She is passionate about books, family, friends and, most certainly, the performing arts.

​Mary has helped shape and define The New Victory Theater for the past 20 years. She has been trusted from the get-go with the responsibility of seeking out and bringing to the New Victory stage works for our young audiences that are beautiful, compelling, challenging and magical—always underpinned with the highest artistic and production values. It is no surprise that artists and colleagues from near and far have joined us to celebrate, with their musings and reminiscences, our beloved Director of Artistic Programming—the one and only—Mary Rose Lloyd. 
— Cora Cahan, President of The New Victory Theater

Mary is often described as a "tastemaker" in the international movement of theater for young audiences. I think "trailblazer" is a more appropriate badge of honour. She is a brave programmer who through dedicated commitment to this international community has developed a sense of what is coming next. She can pick trends, spot good ideas behind emerging companies and then find the right context in which to present that work. 
— Andy Packer, Slingsby Theatre Company​, Artistic Director

When I started in the Education Department of the New Vic in 2002, I didn't know Mary well… but she had already had a profound impact on me by what she had programmed the previous two years. As a grad student at NYU in Educational Theatre, I bought a season subscription and was forever changed by seeing work of the highest caliber at the New Vic. I have been lucky to cross paths often with Mary over the past dozen years and there's never enough time for us to catch up, laugh, gossip, dream and scheme about the future—all in an effort to continue to make the work better.
There are very few programmers on the planet who know more about the national and international landscape of theater for young audiences than Mary Rose Lloyd and who have made such a significant impact. I am lucky to call her a colleague and a friend. Happy 20 years, Mary!
— David Kilpatrick​​, Kennedy Center, Manager of Theater for Young Audiences


Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary and the New Vic's Director of Ticket Services, Robin Leeds, at the opening of the New 42nd Street Studios in 2000.
For someone who is clearly at the top of her game, respected by arts organizations around the world, and who has changed the face of performing arts for young people here in North America, Mary is a wonderful, warm, remarkably down to earth friend and colleague. The arts community of New York City is so lucky to claim her as one of our own and the young people of New York City are her greatest beneficiaries, as they should be. Congratulations on 20 years, Mary, and thank you, with love.
— Peg Schuler-Armstrong, Director of Programming and Production, Lincoln Center Education

How shocking. 20 years. This means we have worked together over two decades ago. Impossible.
I'm thrilled to be able to contribute my song to the large chorus of professionals singing in unison of your valiant artistic vision and astute programming. I send you a warm embrace from where I am working. Onward, dear friend. You have many more wonderful years ahead to make your artistic contribution to our society through your noble work.
— Joe Melillo​, Executive Producer, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Mary—your vision of and for the New Vic's artistic programming has taught me so much. I don't know how to thank you. Suffice it to say my life, my children's lives and the lives of thousands upon thousands of kids and their families would be much poorer, much more boring, much more insular and much less empathetic without the glorious, brave, life-affirming, boundary-breaking, myth-busting work you have put on the New Vic's stage.
— Edie Demas, Executive Director, Jacob Burns Film Center 


Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary reading in the Programming office.
We both started around the same time and we've been a lot of places and seen a lot of work together. And I mean a lot of work! She has been a mentor, the dearest of all colleagues, and more than all of that, a real true friend. I'm a lucky, better man for knowing her and I love her to bits. 
— Tony Reekie, Chief Executive, Imaginate

Mary—how is it possible that as you celebrate your 20th anniversary at the helm of the New Vic, Tall Stories celebrate our 20th year of existence? It's crazy to think back all those years ago to the first time we met you at IPAY 2002 in Philadelphia after our performance of Snow White. After booking the show, you invited us to New York to have a look at the New Vic and you walked us around the venue. We played it as calmly as we could. When you left the room for a moment—all five of us turned to each other and let out a little scream. Did you hear? We always wondered if you had…
— Olivia​ Jacobs​ and Toby​ Mitchell, Joint Artistic Directors, Tall Stories


Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary giving opening remarks at the Scottish Theater Forum in 2009. 
There are certain people that you meet in life that just feel like "home." The professional and the personal relationship is not "work." It just is. Mary is one of those people. I just want to hang out with her, eat a bucket of chicken and talk about hair dye. I simply adore her.
— Michael Bobbitt​, Artistic Director, Adventure Theatre MTC

Mary Rose, you have changed all of our lives, inspired the heck out of us and challenged us to be better! My life was forever changed by those weeks in that van as we bounced across the backroads of the Netherlands meeting incredible artists, seeing rehearsals, having dinners and getting to know all of those traveling in the van far too well. I remember laughing myself sick, eating far too much Dutch licorice and feeling like the luckiest guy on the planet to be hanging out with folks like Mary and Tony Reekie. Thanks for kicking our behinds. Thanks for traveling to the furthest corners of the planet to make us see with the eyes of kids and to know just how much we had to change in the USA. You can never stop, you are just getting warmed up. You have been the greatest friend, ally and guide that anyone could want. Thanks for bringing your heart, your critical eye and your fabulous laugh to every moment and for sharing it all so generously. U R DA BEST!
— Peter Brosius, Artistic Director, Children's Theatre Company

While at PennPAT, Mary served on our roster review panel and really provided a terrific lens for viewing traditional theater, physical theater and family programming. I had been contemplating more consulting work with artists, particularly those who created quality programming for young audiences, and Mary was a wonderful resource. She sat down with me that winter and really helped me get clear on my vision, trends in the field, artists to watch and how I could serve; and this ultimately guided me when I took my consulting in the direction of artist management and representation. Through the years she's continued to be a voice for quality family programming and a guide to so many of us who are looking to give this work more mainstream outlets. Congrats on 20 years, Mary! Thank you for all you do!
— Chrissie DiAngelus, Marketing Mentor, Piccadilly Arts


Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary with her artistic programming team!
I shared almost all my time on the board of IPAY with Mary. She was always generous with both her knowledge and her contacts whenever we were together and I always have appreciated that. She has introduced me to many companies and colleagues over the years; a value that is hard to calculate. Congratulations on 20 years, Mary. All the best form the wilds of New Jersey.
— Alan Liddell, Director of the Nash Theatre, Raritan Valley Community College

20 years! That is incredible. I suppose for me the thing I love about Mary is that she is really upfront about what she likes and what she doesn't. It's refreshingly straightforward. She will still manage to compliment the work, but if it doesn't work for her you know it. Oh, and she is always good for a restaurant tip, too, which is a tremendous skill in itself. Go Mary—here's to the next 20!
— Andy Manley, Creator and Performer, White 

20th Anniversary!?!? Already!?!? Wow I feel old… I remember attending a theater festival in Lyon that first year Mary was in her position at The New Victory. It was 10 days of seeing an excellent array of work along with food, wine and shopping. She became a treasured colleague and friend from that moment. Mary sets the bar as a curator and programmer for children’s performing arts; she personifies excellence both personally and professionally. I salute her and raise a toast to another 20 brilliant years!
— Leanne Tintori Wells, Dance Program Director, NYSCA
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