Who We Are
OUR MISSION: Independent, intercultural, entertaining, and uncensored, Mosaic Theater Company is committed to making transformational, socially-relevant art, to producing plays by authors on the front lines of conflict zones, and to building a fusion community to address some of the most pressing issues of our times. Dedicated to making our theater a model of diversity and inclusion at every strata, on stage and off, Mosaic invests in the new as we keep abreast of our changing and challenging times to ensure that our theater is a responsive gathering space, all the while nurturing and producing art of the highest order. We complement our productions with comprehensive engagement through free pre- and post-show programming, an annual intercultural festival, like our “Voices From a Changing Middle East” series, and educational initiatives, including our touring “Mosaic on the Move.” We strive to foster a culture of listening and welcoming, embracing complexity and a multi-focal perspective. Our plays speak truth to power and to the private parts of our soul. In short, we make art with a purpose and strive for impact.
OUR ORIGIN: Coming from a highly acclaimed 18-year career at Theater J, a company focused on cultural identity, progressive Jewish values, and intergroup relations, Ari Roth (a playwright, producer, and educator) saw an increasingly polarized landscape filled with reactionary pushback in the face of groundbreaking interfaith dialogue, and was determined to continue using theater to interweave cultural narratives around critical social justice issues, international engagement, and civic discourse. In the wake of his parent company, the DC Jewish Community Center, choosing to cancel Theater J's long-running, critically acclaimed Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival, Roth opted to deepen his commitment to intergroup dialogue through the arts by stepping out to build a new, mission-driven theater company that would expand upon the values of the festival and resonate more broadly within the nation's capital.
Roth soon partnered with Jennifer L. Nelson, former artistic director of the African Continuum Theatre Company, a kindred, culturally specific company focusing on celebrating and investigating the African American experience. A director, playwright, producer, and educator with decades of experience as a seminal member of Arena Stage's educational arm, Living Stage, Nelson became Mosaic's Resident Director, and is now an Associate Artist with Mosaic.
Roth and Nelson were then joined by Serge Seiden, a veteran of the DC theatre community and central building block at the forward-thinking Studio Theatre. An acclaimed director and the definition of an artist-manager, with vast experience in virtually every phase of theatrical production, Serge would become a partner to Roth as Mosaic's Managing Director and Producer.
During the last days of 2014, Roth chose the Atlas Performing Arts Center to be the home and artistic anchor for Mosaic. Set in a historic, racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood in NE Washington--not in the epicenter of mainstream theatre-going Washington, but in a revitalizing area--the H Street corridor is transforming into one of the hottest and most watched neighborhoods in the Washington DC area.
Our Values: Mosaic is, first and foremost, a team of working theater artists and highly devoted professionals committed to producing art of the highest order. Our art is bold, creative, expressive, and uncensored. We produce art to be transformational, thought-provoking, and socially relevant to both contemporary issues and to the legacy of historical issues that remain at the intersection of conflict and society. Our commitment to open dialogue and free speech is paramount.
We believe in dignity and respect for the individual and live in an environment that encourages dialogue, heterogeneity of thought and opinion and a place where people are invited into conversations about history, politics, and society from a multiplicity of perspectives, leading to the synthesizing of often oppositional narratives.
We strive to "walk the talk" in all that we do to ensure authenticity of messaging and consistency of efforts in providing platforms for truly transformational dialogue around important issues. We cultivate safeguards to ensure that civic discourse and public conversation take place in comfortable yet sometimes challenging, respectful, well-informed settings. We reflect the community we serve.
Mosaic Theater Company of DC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 company, as such gifts to Mosaic our tax-deductible. Our tax ID number is 47-2641919
Ari Roth, Founding Artistic Director
A producer, playwright, dramaturg, and educator, Ari founded Mosaic Theater Company in December 2014, after serving as Artistic Director of Theater J for 18 years where he produced 129 productions, including 44 world premieres, and created the annual festivals “Voices From a Changing Middle East” and “Locally Grown: Community Supported Art” alongside forums like the Peace Café (co-founded by Mosaic founding board members, Mimi Conway and Andy Shallal). In 2005, The New York Times praised Theater J as “the premier theater for premieres. . . and its artistic director, Ari Roth, [who] offers a rare mix of professional polish, thoughtful dramaturgy and nervy experimentation.” His signature "Voices Festival" brought acclaim for productions like Pangs of the Messiah, Return to Haifa, and The Admission. Following the abrupt cancellation of the Festival in 2014 and his controversial dismissal a month later, and buoyed by support from over 120 artistic directors from across the country, Roth established Mosaic Theater Company to expand a social justice mission and to make Mosaic a model of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access. Mosaic's inaugural season was heralded by The Washington Post as "one of the most significant developments in Washington theatre in years." Since its first production in fall of 2015, Mosaic has produced 32 full productions, 42 staged readings, workshops, and “Mosaic on the Move” presentations, with over 500 post-show discussions, building a Fusion Community with audiences from all parts of the city – and beyond – through candid conversation and transformational artistry. As a playwright, his work includes Born Guilty, commissioned and produced by Arena Stage, directed by Zelda Fichandler, and more than 50 productions across the country; The Wolf in Peter, produced by Theater J, Jewish Theatre of the South; and fused as a diptych for Epic Theatre at Manhattan Theatre Club and CUNY; a prequel, Andy and The Shadows produced at Theater J, directed by Daniela Topol, and Reborn In Berlin, workshopped at The Orchard Project, (in progress; all four works are part of "The Born Guilty Cycle"). Other produced plays include Oh, The Innocents (premiere directed by Joe Mantello at GeVa); Goodnight Irene (premiere directed by Gilbert McCauley at The Performance Network); Life In Refusal (directed by Wendy C. Goldberg at Theater J); Love and Yearning in the Not for Profits (premiere directed by Joe Banno at Theater J); Still Waiting (companion to Waiting For Lefty; premiere directed by Shira Piven at Theater J) and a dozen one-acts. His plays have been nominated for 5 Helen Hayes Awards, and he is a two-time recipient of the Avery Hopwood Award from the University of Michigan where he has taught since 1988, currently for their “Michigan in Washington” program, as well as for Brandeis, NYU, and Carnegie Mellon Universities.
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Serge Seiden, Managing Director & Producer
Serge joined Mosaic Theater Company as Managing Director & Producer to help found a company committed to social justice, and most recently directed Mosaic Theater Company's When January Feels Like Summer. In 2013, Seiden received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director/Resident Musical for Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. . . at MetroStage. His production of Bad Jews at Studio Theatre was nominated for four 2015 Helen Hayes Awards including Outstanding Director, and was remounted last season. Seiden also directed Studio’s acclaimed The Apple Family Cycle. From 1990 to 2015, Seiden held many positions at Studio including stage manager, Literary Manager, and Producing Director. Seiden was a key player in Studio’s 1996 and 2004 expansions—developments crucial to the re-emergence of 14th Street NW as a DC cultural hub. For 20 years, Seiden has been a member of the faculty of the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory, where he trained as an actor and director. More recent directing credits include When January Feels Like Summer at Mosaic Theater, Everett Quinton’s A Tale of Two Cities at Synetic Theater, Freud’s Last Session at Theater J, and Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing! at Olney Theatre Center. Other Studio Theatre credits include The Motherfucker with the Hat, The Golden Dragon, Superior Donuts, In the Red and Brown Water, Grey Gardens, My Children! My Africa!, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, and Old Wicked Songs. His productions at Adventure Theatre MTC—A Little House Christmas and Charlotte’s Web—were both nominated for Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Production/ Theatre for Young Audiences.
Victoria Murray Baatin, Associate Artistic Director
Victoria is a capable and dedicated thought leader committed to excellence. She is currently the Associate Artistic Director at the Helen Hayes award-winning Mosaic Theater Company of DC, a company committed to making transformational, socially-relevant art to address pressing social issues. Victoria has also had the distinct privilege of serving on the national team for the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network – a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs dedicated to meeting the special needs of military patients and veterans with traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions through the provision of creative arts therapy. Prior to this, Victoria served at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the official arts agency for the District of Columbia as the Deputy Director for Policy and Strategic Action and the Legislative and Community Affairs Director. In these capacities she worked to develop and articulate the Commission’s policy agenda and priorities and formulated strategies that created opportunities for the Commission to advance these priorities. Victoria has also worked with Americans for the Arts Action Fund where she managed the growth of the Arts Action Fund Political Action Committee (PAC) and served as liaison to federal candidates and campaigns. She also spearheaded the ArtsVote2012 campaign – a national initiative geared towards ensuring that the arts impact federal elections with a presence at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Holding a Master's in Art and Public Policy from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and a BFA in Theatre Arts from Howard University, Victoria is an artist in her own right and has directed numerous productions throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area and is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. An avid traveler, Victoria has trained both nationally and internationally, New York City (Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Lab, Women's Project Producer's Lab); Ashland, Oregon (Oregon Shakespeare Festival FAIR Fellow); Washington, DC (Allen Lee Hughes Fellow, Arena Stage); Italy (LaMaMa, ETC. International Symposium for Directors); Brazil (Center for the Theatre of the Oppressed); and London (British Academy of Dramatic Arts Shakespeare Program).
Our home at the
Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE, Washington DC 20002
Box Office: 202-399-7993 ext 2
Subscriber Hotline: 202-399-7993 ext 155
Box Office Hours: 1-6 PM on Monday-Friday and the 2 hours before curtain
Mosaic Theater Company will be anchored at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street near Union Station and Capitol Hill. The newly renovated Atlas is a state-of-the-art performing arts multiplex in the heart of a proud, regenerating neighborhood.
The H Street Northeast Corridor was once a bustling commercial district for much of the early and mid twentieth century. The neighborhood consisted of Irish, Russian, German, Jewish and African-American residents and business owners who lived and worked in relative harmony, although much of the rest of the city was segregated during this time period. The neighbors even petitioned the city to allow them to have an integrated school but were denied.
Department stores, music shops, pharmacies and car dealerships all kept company with the Atlas throughout this heyday. In the late 1950s and early 1960s residents and businesses began leaving cities throughout the country for the nearby suburbs and H Street began to lose its neighbors as well. This flight was exacerbated by the riots which followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. Several areas of the city were devastated, including H Street. Yet while many buildings were burned and destroyed, the Atlas remained.
The neighborhood fell into decline as residents and businesses fled and the Atlas Theater closed its doors for good in 1976. The 1980s and 90s were difficult for the neighborhood as the many vacant, graffiti-covered buildings provided havens for drug users and the once-bustling neighborhood streets became better known for their criminal activity. The Atlas, and the three smaller buildings that now make up the complex, was shuttered and the lights on the historic marquee went dark.
In 2001, led by co-founders Jane Lang and the late Paul Sprenger, the property was re-imagined with the idea of creating a multiple venue arts center which would be the catalyst for the revitalization of H Street Northeast. The city got behind the idea in 2003 creating the H Street Overlay which divided the street into three sections, with the Atlas anchoring the new Arts and Entertainment District. The Atlas’ re-opening—joining other pioneering ventures on the performing arts scene, including the 100-seat H Street Playhouse under the stewardship of Adele Robie, and its resident company, The Theater Alliance—helped to spark the economic revitalization that has now transformed H Street into a vibrant hub of entertainment, culture dining and new commerce.
Through its programs and service to the community, the Atlas Performing Arts Center seeks to honor and maintain the history and traditions of H Street, while also fostering the changes taking place to renew the H Street corridor. Today the neighborhood is known as the Atlas District. The Atlas’ restored Art Moderne marquee once again shines over H Street, which has become a key nightlife destination for eclectic dining, music and the performing arts.
Mosaic Theater’s programming and vision dovetail nicely with that of the Atlas. Our work will reflect deep engagement and curiosity with our surroundings. From our base at the Atlas, Mosaic will partner with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Busboys and Poets, several area universities and houses of worship in and around our city, along with other affinity organizations as we entreat their communities to join ours.