New Theatre was founded by Rafael and Kimberly de Acha. Since the very beginning, it has been a multi-ethnic company providing an artistic home to many artists and championing the work of American playwrights. De Acha arranged the residence of playwright NiloCruz in 2003 at New Theatre. That, in turn, led to the commissioning, writing, and production of Anna in the Tropics, Pulitzer Prize for Drama that year, and the American Theatre Critics’ Steinberg Prize for Best American Play.
Since 2006, Ricky J. Martínez has been its artistic director with Eileen Suarez as Managing Director. Their seasons now focus on "works which speak of social/religious/humanistic interests, relevant issues of discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation, the immigrant's plight, the role of youth in our community, and for stories from the heart and for the soul which celebrate the mosaic that makes up our South Florida community" (New Theatre website). Its director also wants to promote diversity within the arts and encourage the discovery and success of little-known, but talented, playwrights. New Theatre describes itself as a theatre company that "embraces the voices of early and mid-career playwrights. Many talented artists would not have a forum for their work without our unflagging commitment to 'new voices-new work'" (New Theatre website).
The theatre has world-premiered over 50 new plays. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics, other world premieres include the works of local professional playwrights David Caudle, Lauren Feldman, Dr. Richard Janaro, Alfred Allan Lewis, Michael McKeever, and Susan Westfall, whose plays later receive national and international productions.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize won by Cruz, other playwrights and directors have won prizes such as the Key to the City of Coral Gables, the Carbonell prize of the South Florida Theatre Critics Association, Best of Miami prize awarded by The Miami New Times and The Sun Post, and Best of Year prize awarded by The Miami Herald and The Sun Sentinel.
A Brief History of New Theatre
New Theatre has produced a year-round season of plays in Coral Gables, Florida, since 1986 - the year it was founded by husband and wife Rafael and Kimberly de Acha. In May 2006, Rafael de Acha retired after 20 years at the helm of the company. New Artistic Director Ricky J. Martinez and Eileen Suarez, New Theatre's managing director of 12 years, continue to honor the commitment to the South Florida community and its artists.
New Theatre's mission is evidenced by the theatre's repertory choices: an imaginative sampling of new works by American playwrights as well as classics. New Theatre produces plays that strive to keep listening for social/political themes: for issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion; for the immigrant experience; for stories from the heart and for the soul; for the representation of unheard American voices. Most significantly, New Theatre develops new plays by early and mid-career playwrights, staging many in their world premieres. New Theatre has commissioned and/or produced world premieres of such notable works as Nilo Cruz's 2003 Pulitzer Prize and Steinberg award-winning play Anna in the Tropics, Shirley Lauros Clarence Harrow's Last Trial, and Elaine Romero's Barrio Hollywood. New Theatre has also provided a home for world premieres of local professional playwrights Michael McKeever, Mario Diament, Dr. Richard Janaro, Alfred Allan Lewis, and David Caudle, which were later seen nationally and internationally. For the past twenty years
New Theatre has housed, in its modest hundred-seat theatre, over fifty world premieres, as many Florida premieres, and has cultivated an eclectic ever-growing audience that includes students from the city's schools and universities. New Theatre and its artists have received many honors and awards, including the Key to the City of Coral Gables, as weU as several CarboneU awards from the South Florida Theater Critics Association, along with multiple nominations by Miami New Times in its "Best of Miami" issues. The Miami Herald and The Sun Sentinel have singled out New Theatre productions in their "Best of the Year" listings again and again. The company has received funding from Theatre Communications Group, The City of Coral Gables, The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs of the State of Florida, and The National Endowment for the Arts.
Since its inception, New Theatre has been an invigorating part of South Florida's artistic community, with a clear commitment to stimulate, provoke, challenge, and entertain its audiences, continuously reinforcing artists and works that reflect the astounding diversity of our multicultural region. (Taken from TheatreForum 34 (2009): 61.)