HartBeat Ensemble creates original, professional theater based on stories from our community. Through Mainstage plays, Open-Air performances and Education programs, we make theater accessible beyond the barriers of class, race or gender.
Gregory Tate, Julia Rosenblatt and Steven Ginsburg founded HartBeat Ensemble in September of 2001 after working together at the San Francisco Mime Troupe for a combined total of 22 years. HartBeat was founded to create original plays based on the Greater Hartford community. HartBeat Ensemble members chose to live and work in Hartford because we are passionate about using theater to inspire a struggling city in need of change.
Since our founding in 2001, HartBeat has created six full-length original plays. We began our annual free tour of public theater, Plays in the Parks, in 2006. HartBeat’s flagship education program is the Youth Play Institute. The Youth Play Institute works in partnership with five different school districts to bring urban and suburban youth together for intensive month-long play building residencies in which they create and perform original one-act plays. HartBeat also conducts many workshops for youth and adults with Forum Theater techniques.
One of the central tenets of HartBeat’s mission is to bring theater to underserved populations, in locations where it is most accessible to them. We have focused our efforts on affordability, accessibility and the idea of “comfortability”– that presenting theater in locations and neighborhoods already familiar to audiences helps bridge the differences of an ethnically and economically striated city.
In 2009 HartBeat was recognized by the Theater Communications Group as part of the New Generations Program for our ability to cultivate new audiences for theater. HartBeat regularly appears in the Hartford Advocate’s “Best of” edition as one of the top three professional theaters in the area.
Steven Ginsburg: Co-Artistic Director Steven is Co-Founding Artistic Director of HartBeat Ensemble. Steven began his theater career at the groundbreaking New WORLD Theater, a landmark theater dedicated to new works that tell under-heard stories from overlooked peoples. From there he went on to work with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Anna Deveare-Smith at the Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue, Shakespeare and Company, Augusto Boal, Michael Rohd and The Civilians. Steven has been a teacher, playwright, actor and director. He was honored in American Theatre’s 25th anniversary issue celebrating 25 young theater artists who are most likely to influence American Theater in the next 25 years. He is a member of the 2012 Lincoln Center Directors Lab and also holds an MFA in Directing from Boston University.
Julia B. Rosenblatt: Co-Artistic Director, Director of Education
Julia B. Rosenblatt graduated from University of California Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television in 1997. From 1997 to 2001, Julia worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe (SFMT) as an actor, teacher, production manager and stage manager. During this time she also performed with The New Conservatory Theater, Traveling Lantern Theater Company, Pagliacci’s Fools Radio Project and at the John Simms Performing Arts Center. In September of 2001, Julia moved back to her hometown of Hartford, CT to become a Co-Founding Artistic Director of HartBeat Ensemble. While with HartBeat, she has co-written and performed in Graves, News To Me, CNA Is The Soul, Ebeneeza – A Hartford Holiday Carol, The Pueblo, and Plays In The Parks 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Julia is a recipient of the 2009 New Boston Fund Individual Artist Award.
Gregory R. Tate: Co-Artistic Director, Production Manager
Greg Tate has had an eclectic and adventuresome theatrical career. It began when he was accepted into the BFA program at the University of Southern California in 1976 where he remained through 1979. In 1986 he became the master electrician at the Eureka Theater in San Francisco where he was proud to work on the world premiere production of Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day. In 1988 he joined The San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he became an ensemble member in 1988. Greg acted in and or co-wrote the SFMT productions of Back To Normal, Social Work, I Ain’t Yo Uncle, Coast City Confidential, Escape From Cyberia and Killing Time. Greg also served as lead writer on the Mime Troupe’s first Youth Theater Festival play, Gotta Getta Life. Greg has also had two of his plays; The Patch and Ritual produced at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in 1991. In 1998 Greg worked for the Soweto Youth Drama Society in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa under a grant from the Oxfam Foundation where he taught stage and tour Management at the SYDS while tour managing the play, Let’s Talk About It, which was one of South Africa’s first AIDS education projects. In September of 2001 Greg moved to Hartford, CT to become one of the founding members of HartBeat Ensemble. While with HartBeat, he has co-written and performed in Graves, News To Me, CNA Is The Soul, Ebeneeza – A Hartford Holiday Carol, The Pueblo, and Plays In The Parks 2006-2010. From 2006 – 2008 Greg served on the Board of Trustees for the Network of Ensemble Theaters. In 2007 he was elected Vice-President of that organization.
Cindy Martinez: HartBeat Ensemble Member, Community Liaison
Cindy Martinez, a native of Hartford, CT studied Theatre at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts as well as the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. She co-hosted ‘Women In Charge’ directed by Doug Rogers and worked on several PSAs and voice-over projects for Connecticut Public Television (CPTV.) As a college freshman, she began an internship as a Stage Manager and actor with HartBeat Ensemble’s first Main Stage production Graves. She attended Southern CT State University and in 2006 graduated with a Bachelors in Communication. Since 2003, Cindy has worked on several HartBeat projects including Finding Words, Plays in the Parks 2006, 2008 and 2010, educational workshops, and assistant teaching. Cindy took on one of the lead roles in HartBeat’s The Pueblo, a bilingual production about the changing politics in Latin America. Cindy became a member of HartBeat Ensemble in 2008. Currently, Cindy is on staff as HartBeat’s Community Liaison, and serves as Program Director of HartBeat Ensemble’s Youth Play Institute. YPI brings urban and suburban youth together for an intensive month-long play creation process.
Debra Walsh: HartBeat Ensemble Member
Debra Walsh became a member of the HartBeat Ensemble in 2008. She has performed and taught with the Ensemble since 2005. She created the role of Ebeneeza in Ebeneeza– A Hartford Holiday Carol, works with the Finding Words trainings, performed in the CNA project, and made her directorial debut with the Plays In The Parks 2007. She brings over 25 years of professional work as an actor, producer and theatre arts educator. Some of this experience includes: Core Faculty in the Theater Department at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Artist Instructor at the Hartford Conservatory, and the Center for Creative Youth. Locally she has performed with Hartford Stage and Capital Classics Theater. Most recent productions (that she co-produced and performed in) include: Seductive Countess in The Seductive Countess, It’s A Wonderful Life On Air!, Belize in The Learned Ladies, Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the Nurse and Lady Montague in Romeo and Juliet. She received her education at the University of Connecticut, with a BFA (magna cum laude) in theater, and an MA in Socio-Drama. In addition she has worked with many local schools and arts agencies to develop and implement theater programs. These include: the Bushnell, Dance Connecticut, The University of Hartford and Trinity College. In 2006, she was a recipient of the SURDNA Arts Teachers fellowship.