Bated Breath Theatre Company Receives $50,000 Grant from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Hartford-based theatre company performances attempt to bring works of art to life through theater


While many people enjoy going to a museum to view works of art, very few have had the experience of having the art virtually come to life.  But hundreds of area museum patrons now get to do just that thanks to the Bated Breath Theatre Company. This truly unique performance company recently received a three-year $50,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to hire a full-time, paid executive/artistic director to allow the organization to expand its offerings to more audiences in museums and other art spaces throughout the region.

“The Bated Breath Theatre Company’s effort to re-imagine static art exhibits through theatrical performances is a truly innovative way to engage audiences to develop deeper connections to works of art,” said Dawn Grant, a program officer at the Hartford Foundation. “The company’s close collaborations and partnerships with other area arts organizations are examples of how nonprofits can work together to enhance their offerings to local residents.”

Bated Breath Theatre Company was founded in 2008 as a small, volunteer-run theatre company bringing theatrical performances to the Greater Hartford area.  Under the direction of its artistic director, Mara Lieberman, the company now develops shorter performance pieces presented in the context of a gallery, museum exhibit or other cultural/public event.   Called Interludes, these productions feature actors performing pieces intended to interpret works of art to break down the barriers between the viewer and the artwork on display. Bated Breath has seen its audiences more than double over the past several years and the company performs regularly for Hartford students through its partnership with Hartford Performs.

This grant will allow Bated Breath to have to have a full-time, paid executive/artistic director allowing the company to better focus on the development of the company and provide management and leadership oversight for operations, staff and volunteers.  The executive director will also lead fundraising and communications efforts, direct management of new works, and collaborate with other organizations to develop and produce these projects.

“Our model of Interludes collaborations with museums has always had the potential to reinvigorate both theatre and other struggling art forms in a single event,” said Lieberman, “but we have always been limited because we didn’t have a full-time staff person to put the partnerships together. The Foundation’s generosity will make it possible for us to create more unforgettable experiences in collaborations with the leading cultural institutions in our region."

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities.  In 2015, the Foundation celebrates 90 years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations.  It has awarded grants of more than $620 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.


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