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360 Farmington Avenue

Hartford, CT  06105

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HartBeat Ensemble

Theater For Change

About HartBeat

Founded in 2001 by Steven Raider-Ginsburg, Julia B. Rosenblatt and Gregory R. Tate (1952-2012), HartBeat is one of Hartford’s most important cultural institutions, dedicated to creating provocative theater that connects our community beyond the traditional barriers of class, race, geography and gender. Since 2001, HartBeat has supported hundreds of artists, collaborated with over 50 community organizations and created nine original, full-length works, including the award-winning Flipside and critically recognized Jimmy & Lorraine. We have trained thousands of young adults, won multiple awards and continue to inspire the next generation of leaders to create change for a better world. HartBeat is an artist-led, artist-driven company dedicated to building community partnerships and helping to integrate the arts into our community’s civic agenda. We continue to:


  • serve as an intersection for innovative contemporary art and community engagement,

  • play a bold leadership role in positioning art as a catalyst for community change and collaborating with others to realize a shared vision for the community and the arts,

  • provide youth-focused training opportunities that inspire and empower young people to make a difference in their lives and the world around them;

  • serve as an incubator of non-traditional and contemporary art, and a home for a broad spectrum of CT and other artists; and

  • share a physical space that is open to artists and community.


HartBeat's plays have been presented at festivals and theaters throughout the region, such as the NY International Fringe Festival (awarded 2012 Best Ensemble), Boston University, Central Connecticut State University, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Yale University, Trinity College, University of Saint Joseph, the Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst, Mass., among others.

In 2013, HartBeat moved into the Carriage House Theater located on Farmington Avenue in Hartford. Our home provides an opportunity for HartBeat to produce a season of events that extends beyond our mainstage and education productions. Our goal is to offer our community consistently dynamic live presentations by HartBeat Ensemble as well as other Connecticut-based artists and companies.  Click Carriage House Rentals for more information on our community rental program!


HartBeat Ensemble Announces

Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. as Artistic Director

Godfrey L. Simmons Jr., Artistic Director

Simmons is an award-winning actor, producer, director, and playwright who has spent thirty years amplifying the voices of marginalized people and communities. He brings with him an extensive background working with ensembles, as an actor (Off-Broadway and regional theaters), teacher, director, playwright and producer. In 2012, he co-founded Civic Ensemble, a regional theatre in Ithaca, NY. He was a Producing Artist for Off-Broadway’s Epic Theatre Ensemble for four years, appearing in a dozen productions. He also co-wrote and starred with Brandt Adams in a documentary play about the election of President Barack Obama, Dispatches From (A)mended America after interviewing 100 Southerners about the election. He won the 1999 Audelco Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance opposite Leslie Uggams in The Old Settler at Primary Stages. 


In addition to teaching acting at Cornell, he is a lifetime member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and sits on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters. Godfrey is married to theater artist Sarah K. Chalmers, also co-artistic director of Civic Ensemble, and they have a young son, Samuel. 

Simmons in American Theatre Magazine

Read more about Simmons in the Hartford Courant

Full press release here.

Performance Projects

The Journey to the Poles

January 01, 2020

HartBeat's Youth Play Institute presents The Journey to the Polls, a new one-act play written and performed by YPI participants. The play follows three young people of different backgrounds as they learn of struggles faced by minorities; struggles that follow them into the voting booths.

Saturday, November 23 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, November 24 at 2:00 pm


General admission is $5

And as always, no one turned away for lack of funds (NOTALF).

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HartBeat’s Education Programs, inspired by Augusto Boal's Theater of the Oppressed, teaches theater as form of conflict resolution, civic engagement and deeper learning. 

Get In Touch

360 Farmington Ave., Hartford, CT  06105 \\ Tel: 860-548-9144