Spotlight: Passage Theatre Company

Professional theatre in New Jersey’s Capital City

The Passage Theatre Company was established in 1985 by a group of theater artists led by Founding Artistic Director Veronica Brady.

The Gothic Revival building – built in 1873 for the Messiah Adventist Chapel, then in 1902 becoming home to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Saviour – merged with another Lutheran Church in 1967 and was vacant until a 1977 fire left the building roofless and gutted.

It was converted into a performing arts center in 1982. The playhouse has been Passage Theatre’s principal venue since its founding in 1985.

These artists had one mission: to bring new, theatrical works to Trenton’s community through the production of high-quality, professional productions.

Following a stint as Passage’s Education Director, June Ballinger became Artistic Director in 1995 and expanded Passage’s mission to include socially relevant work.

During her 22-year tenure with Passage, June had an enormous impact on the company’s growth, founded Passage’s education program and sought out opportunities to employ a more diverse and inclusive staff and artist pool.

In 2014, Damion Parran became Passage’s first Managing Director. Ballinger retired from her position in 2017, and C. Ryanne Domingues became Passage’s next Artistic Director.

In 2021, Brishen Miller was promoted to Passage’s Managing Director building on the foundation laid by Damion. In 2023, Brishen was promoted again to Executive Artistic Director.

Beginning in 2019, Mrs. Domingues reimagined Passage with a focus on new play development.

At the start of 2022, against all odds and a global pandemic, Passage Theatre mounted three brand new world premiere scripts in under 100 days. Most notably was The OK Trenton Project, based on real-life people and events.

Passage will continue to develop new plays with the upcoming Ghetto Gods in Devineland, based on the vibe and music of Trenton’s own Hip Hop legends, Poor Righteous Teachers.

PHOTO CAP: Passage’s home, the Mill Hill Playhouse in downtown Trenton. The Delaware River flagstone that made the original Gothic church just turned 150-years-old!

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