No Shame Theatre

New York City

(est. 1989)
To apathy, to entropy, to empathy, ecstasy
Vaclav Havel - The Sex Pistols, 8BC,
To No Shame - never playing the Fame Game
     --from Rent

No Shame was created to provide a place where people interested in working in the theatre could "Dare to Fail". In the fall of 1985 Todd Ristau, then an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, declared his pickup truck a theatre. He parked it in an empty lot, lit it with a motorcycle headlamp, and the truck became a stage on which young writers and performers could experiment with their craft. Since that time No Shame has continued to grow and now operates a system of No Shames, of which this branch at the Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art is one.

The focus of No Shame is on experimentation, low production values, and creative expression in a low risk, nonjudgemental environment. It is open to all, and all are encouraged to participate. As it was in the days of the truck, so it should remain, the audience is free to let the performers know what they think about the performance in their own way, and is encouraged to exercise their unique brand of quality control. It has always been an exciting aspect of No Shame that it's audience has little regard for their role in theatrical convention and will interact with a performance quite unexpectedly.

In addition to being an alternative in style and content to mainstream theatre, No Shame is committed to providing hands on experience in all aspects of the performative process and to putting into action personal initiative in the creation of original theatre. We come to the theatre not to find work, but to make work.

No committee chooses scripts, there is no censorship policy, however, we do rely on participants to respect our forum, enough to present theatre they themselves feel is interesting, dynamic and worthwhile. "No Shame" should never be misunderstood to mean "No Pride".

Lastly, it must be emphasized that No Shame is a philosophy, not a building or a stage. It is not the space but rather the commitment we bring to it that is No Shame, and wherever there is light enough for a script to be read and people to hear it. No Shame can happen.

History of No Shame in New York



Press Clippings
Art Gallery

Who's Who at No Shame Theatre

[Email to the No Shame webmaster / No Shame Web Site mission statement]