Our Story

Photo by Stephen Pucci

Our Mission

On a mountain, the headwall is the most challenging part of a climb.

At Headwall Theatre, we support theatre-makers as they try a role for the first time with the guidance of experienced mentors, and ascend towards nimble, versatile artistry. From our base camp in Queens, we nurture a community where neighbors step into the theatre, and artists step eagerly into each other’s boots.

Our Core Values

Accessibility is the boots

We break down barriers to entry by ensuring both theatre-makers and audience members have the tools they need to climb with us–especially for the first time. We value an artist’s passion–in the actual dollars they deserve for their time.

Support is the Harness

In our planning and creative spaces, we support theatre-makers who want to try a role for the first time by pairing them with experienced mentors. We offer training opportunities, scheduling flexibility, and care for the needs of everyone on our team.

Collaboration is the Base Camp

Teamwork is where we begin and what we always return to. In our planning and creative spaces, we ensure that decisions are made through honest and respectful discussion by providing leaders with guiding principles that nurture collaboration, and by surveying participants. We team up with other Queens-based arts companies to build community, expand our resources, and create opportunities for first-time ventures.

Our Vision

We envision a thriving and collaborative theatre community in Queens where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate shared interests, explore different points of view, and foster a sense of belonging.  By creating a world where more people stand in each other’s boots and try each other’s jobs, we foster empathic understanding and inspire our community to ascend our collective challenges in harmony.

The Birth of Headwall

As long as you are following your passion with good intentions you will most likely end up where you are supposed to be.

I started this theatre company in August of 2018. I was deeply moved by the death of two people I greatly admired. My former high school theatre director Jodi Davis and the director of the theatre program I attended at East Carolina University, John Shearin. I had departed from theatre for a while to pursue fitness training when the deaths of the two most influential people in my life made me realize that what I truly love is theatre and always will. So I started a theatre company. I was telling my Dad I wanted to find a name that fits what I was trying to get out of the actors and WHY I chose to start a theatre company. Words like: risks, vital, “do the scary thing” would come up and they were inevitably taken or just didn’t work as a title. Then my father, who spent his younger years as a mountaineer said: what about Headwall? I was like, what the heck is that?! And when he explained how it is often the steepest and most difficult part of a climb and you have to figure out a way to get past it. It finally clicked.

In theatre, one can break down barriers, feel the emotional lives of others, express one’s deepest feelings, and open one’s heart. On stage, a lifeless costume on a coat rack becomes a reflection of the world around us because of the people who wear them and the others who assist them. I have come full circle. — Michelle Orosz