Connecting People Through Culture

Connecting People Through Culture

Seeking participants for New Project Kick-off

Circle of Sparks - Playback Theatre company formation

Culture Connection Theater announces Circle of Sparks, a new community building project that combines storytelling and improvisational theater. 

We are seeking about 10 individuals interested in forming an improvisation company. Actors, musicians, theater teachers and drama therapists are encouraged but no theater training is required and all are welcome! Come to an Open House to learn more!

The project’s mission is to foster connection between people through improv theater. Enacting the stories of others provides an opportunity to increase understanding of one another. Theater allows us to move beyond talking and get into action. 

Beginning in May 2019, we aim to meet once a week as a company to learn how to use theater techniques to explore the stories of our lives. Our goal is to host our first public storytelling event in June where we will invite audience members to tell stories which we will enact on the spot and discuss afterward.

About Us 

Actor and musician Laura Hoffman and director and producer Elaine Molinaro have trained at the Centre for Playback Theatre to learn this improv method from company founders Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas who were inspired in part by the psychodrama work of Jacob Moreno. 

Playback Theatre has been used as a forum for the exchange of diverse experiences including racial conflict and reconciliation, incarcerated men and women, immigrant and refugee experiences, youth concerns with bullying or interactions with the police, diversity and conduct in the workplace and more. In their Circle of Sparks project Laura and Elaine hope to explore these themes and others.

Open House

Attend a Circle of Sparks Open House on Thursday, April 11th at 7pm or Sunday April 14th at 4pm to learn more about participating in the project. The open houses will be held at The Culture Loft, Culture Connection Theater’s beautiful theater space at 13 Montclair Ave., Montclair, NJ. 

Please RSVP for one of the open houses to:


What's happening at Culture Connection

"Writing the Short Play" Workshop

Taught by Gwen Orel

Do you have an idea for a play and have wondered where to start? Culture Connection Theater announces our Playwriting Workshops for youth and adults. Write a 10-minute play you can submit to competitions. No Experience or Play Ideas Necessary! Workshop ends with a Reading. We will provide the actors. 

Gwen Orel is a multiple-time produced playwright (The Theater Project; Secret Theater: National Playwrights' Retreat; Apricot Sky) with a PhD in Theater and the Montclair Local Culture Editor who has a lot of experience to bring to leading this workshop! 

Workshop Cost: 

$60 for adults

$30 for children and teens

Time: Sundays 

3:30-5pm for adults and teens

5-5:45pm for children 7-12 years old (must be reading) 

Workshop Dates: 6 sessions 

2/10 start, session 1

2/17 no session due to President’s Day

2/24 session 2

3/3 session 3

3/10 session 4

3/17 no session due to St. Patrick’s Day 

3/24 session 5

3/31 session 6

4/7 Readings (not obligatory) 

Location: The Culture Loft

13 Montclair Ave., Montclair, NJ

For more information, email

To register for the workshop, click on the Donate/Payments button below and enter amount.

We look forward to having you join us!

Calendar of Events 2019-2020


"Castle in Sweden" reading

February - April

Playwriting workshops

     Adults - "Writing the Short Play"

      Youth -  "Young Writers" 

Residency at Charles H. Bullock Elementary School

       "Bullock's Got Talent" for K-5th graders



Spring - Playback Theater improv nights

Fall - Mainstage production

       "Castle in Sweden" by Francoise Sagan

Spring 2020 -  World premiere

       "Performance of Love" by Gwen Orel 

Donations and Event Payment

 Culture Connection Theater is a member of New York Live Arts. We raise tax-deductible donations through NYLA's Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Click the Donate/Payments button below to make a donation or sign-up for an event


About Us

Mission Statement


Culture Connection Theater has the mission to foster connection between people of different countries and between people of different cultures at home.  Culture Connection Theater produces collaborations between artists of different cultures in order to break down barriers of racism, sexism and prejudice, to allow American audiences to experience other cultures, to shed light on our own culture and to engage, comment and ask questions about world events. 

Elaine Molinaro, Artistic Director


Elaine founded Culture Connection Theater (CCT) in 2004. In NJ, Elaine has directed for CCT, the Theater Project, Luna Stage, Dreamcatcher Rep., Centenary Stage, Apricot Sky Productions, Nutley Little Theater, UCC Players, Intersections International, Montclair Early Music and George Street Playhouse. In NY - Lincoln Center, Peculiar Works Project, The Cell, HERE, New Georges, Voice & Vision, Ping Chong and Co. Elaine is President of the Montclair Arts Alliance, Immediate Past Chair and member of the Montclair Arts Advisory Committee to the Montclair Town Council.  She is an officer and women’s play contest coordinator of the Women and Theatre Program for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education. Elaine has a Masters of Fine Arts in theater directing. 

Gwen Orel, Producer, Playwright in Residence


Gwen is a playwright. She serves as the Features editor of the Montclair Local; formerly arts editor, The Montclair Times; publications include New York Times, Wall Street Journal, American Theatre, Village Voice, Time Out New York. Dramaturgy includes literary manager, Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Peculiar Work Project. Gwen has had plays produced at: ThinkFast Festival; Apricot Sky Productions; Montclair Arts Festival; National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Creede, Colorado. Outer Critics Circle voter, PhD in theatre, AEA stage manager. 

Past Productions

Space In-Between


One-acts by French female playwrights:
"Savannah Bay" by Marguerite Duras
"Over Nothing at All" by Nathalie Sarraute
Directed by Elaine Molinaro
at Luna Stage,

West Orange, NJ

Tidings Brought to Mary


by Paul Claudel

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

at Union Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ



by Betty Shemiah

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

at Where Eagles Dare Theater, 

New York, NY

Opera Buffoonia


by Ivan Tairzacra

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

at the Play Outside Festival,

New York, NY

Couples Therapy One-Act Festival


"News" by Gwen Orel

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

Apricot Sky Productions

at Grove Street Theatre,

Montclair, NJ

Think Fast One-Act Festival


"Graveyard Shift"

"Casting Away" 

by Gwen Orel

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

The Theater Project

at Burgdorff Arts Center,

Maplewood, NJ

Dream on Church Street


written by Chuk Obasi

in collaboration with company of

Uniform Justice Montclair

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

A devised project on police-community relations

with Intersections International

at Glenfield Middle School and

Union Congregational Church

New Moon Short Play Festival

playwrights at post performance talk back

“ASK ZSUZANNA - Single Motherhood at 50”

by C.J. Ehrlich

“The Bar Mitzvah of Jesus Goldfarb”

by Andrew Heinze

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

at Luna Stage 

*above: playwrights at post performance talkback

Tongue of a Bird


by Ellen McLaughlin

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

at Union Congregational Church

Montclair, NJ

Youth Programs



“St. George and the Dragon”

Traditional English Mummers Play

Directed by Elaine Molinaro

at the Montclair Arts Festival

and the Montclair Early Music

Winter Concert



Young Writers workshop

taught by Gwen Orel

organized by Andreina Botto-Rover

at the Culture Loft

School Residency


“Bullock's Got Talent”

run and directed by Elaine Molinaro

and Lindsey Sag annually in February

performances by 130 students in

K-5th grade

at Charles H. Bullock 

Elementary School 

Contact Us

Send Message

For inquiries about our company and upcoming events, send us a message.

We will get back to you soon!

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Culture Connection Theater

13 Montclair Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042, US

(646) 418-1658