McCarter Theatre Center

McCarter is proud to call Princeton and the University campus home. As a creator of world-class theater and a presenter of some of the finest performing artists, we strive to engage, educate, and entertain our community.  McCarter is committed to:

  • sharing stimulating, diverse, and provocative stories
  • working at the intersection of art and scholarship
  • making the arts accessible to a broad range of audiences

An independent, non-profit regional theater, McCarter exists in the heart of the new Princeton University Arts District, adjacent to the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Dinky Bar, Cargot, and Maya Lin’s new outdoor installation. McCarter operates the 1,100 seat Matthews Theatre and the 360 seat Berlind Theatre under a rent-free lease, with donated services/utilities and generous financial support from Princeton University.

McCarter is led by Artistic Director, Emily Mann, who is launching her 30th season and Managing Director, Mike Rosenberg, who joined McCarter in May, 2018. Under Emily’s leadership, McCarter has become a theater celebrated for incubating, producing, and presenting plays by women and people of color. The values which guide the play selection process include diversity, new plays by emerging and established artists, and re-examining the classic repertoire through a contemporary lens. Each season, McCarter produces a 5-play Theater Series and a beloved production of A Christmas Carol.

McCarter also offers a Presented Series of more than 50 “one-night only” events that feature an eclectic mix of music, dance, and spoken word from around the world. William Lockwood ’59 has been curating this series since 1963. Bill has a remarkable eye for finding artists in the early stages of their careers. He has introduced Princeton audiences to Wynton Marsalis, pianist Lang Lang, Twyla Tharp, and singer/songwriter Rhiannon Giddens.

McCarter and Princeton share the theatre center during the academic year. Both the Lewis Center and the Triangle Club have dedicated rehearsal rooms and office spaces and also perform on the Matthews and Berlind stages. In the Berlind, the University’s programs for Theater, Dance, and Music Theatre have the stage for 15 weeks each season to present student work, the Annual Dance Festival, and other programs. In the Matthews, Triangle produces their musical twice a year (including Reunion Weekend). McCarter  professional technical crews assist on both stages to help bring the University’s work to life. Additionally, non-profit groups like the Princeton Festival and American Repertory Ballet rent the Matthews Theatre for their annual performances.

McCarter’s educational programs include after school, in-school, student matinee, creative aging, summer camps, internships, and audience engagement opportunities. These programs take place in Princeton, Trenton, and throughout central New Jersey and are often done in collaboration with other non-profit and government agencies. With a dual emphasis on artistry and social-emotional skills, McCarter is deeply invested in the ways that theater education encourages personal growth.

McCarter does all of this with an annual operating budget of $13.5 million derived primarily from ticket sales, and philanthropic contributions.

Princeton University and McCarter share a unique relationship, especially in the context of our peers. We are completely separate institutions, each with its own staff, board, and fundraising efforts. American Repertory Theatre is a program of Harvard University, although their Master of Liberal Arts degree program (through Harvard’s Extension School) recently suspended operations. Some Yale Repertory Theatre staff also have appointments to the Yale School of Drama where they train students as part of Yale’s MFA program. La Jolla Playhouse no longer shares staff with University of California, San Diego but does provide professional residencies for all 2nd year MFA theatre students.  These peer theaters share facilities and stages (to varying degrees) with their host university and produce 6 or more plays a year, and the occasional presented event.

Princeton University’s unique connection with McCarter has helped reinforce our work and fuel our success for the last 45 years.  At this moment, as we focus on the future, we intend to broaden this work, devoting more energy and resources to deepening McCarter’s relationship with the University, and maximizing the partnership’s potential.