Since its founding in 1960, the Theatre of Riverside Church has become well known for exposing audiences to arts from many cultures and supporting emerging artists of all disciplines. The Theatre of Riverside Church has long been recognized as a source of artistic innovation and cultural celebration. With many highly acclaimed artistic contributions in dance and drama, the theater extends and supports the church’s mission through dynamic dance, poetry, drama and visual arts programming.
Riverside is a unique venue for productions by grassroots theater companies. The theater has hosted, among others, Opus Dance Theatre, Harlem School of the Arts, Harlem Gospel Singers, Omega Dance Company, Wellspring Project and many others. A major feature is its New York Summer Arts Festival, held in June and presenting music, dance, storytelling and puppetry from Native American, Brazilian, Dominican, Irish and African-American cultures.
Significant past programs have included: Transcending Race: A Human Exploration, exploring race through dance, drama, film and conversation; NuDance Now Festival, a showcase of innovative new choreographers; Riverside Youth Jazz Scholarship Project, supporting the next generation of jazz musicians through tributes to the jazz masters; and New York Family Arts Festival, a month-long celebration of dance, music, storytelling, arts and crafts and the cuisines of cultures around the globe. There is also an extensive music program that includes a summer organ series and a chamber music concerts. Major orchestral, choral, and hand bell festivals are held in the nave, and a brass ensemble enriches holiday traditions.