The Williamston Theatre's mission is to produce theatre for, by, and about people in this region of the country. The organization has done that consistently over the past twelve years through the work stated above. In addition, the Theatre's founders work toward expanding the audience geographic reach to the entire state of Michigan and surrounding Midwest states. There has been an increase in attendance 10-15% each year since opening. The organization has also broadened its profile to a national level through membership in the Theatre Communications Group and the National New Play Network. These affiliations provide access to resources and expertise from theatre colleagues in similar theatres and regions across the country. This also extends the reach of the Williamston Theatre's work and the work of the Michigan playwrights whose work they are nurturing.
The Theatre's main strategy is to build a broad support network that includes resources upon which it can draw during challenging times. The board of directors has wide-reaching roots in the local community and a variety of areas of expertise – including legal, fundraising, education, and arts management. Partnerships include those with the Michigan State University Department of Theatre, which provides access to resources and a wonderful pool of faculty and student talent, and with “sister" theatres around Michigan, with whom the Theatre shares marketing initiatives, ideas, resources, and collaborations on co-productions.
The four founders have over 50 years of collected experience in arts management, and the accompanying expertise, that they bring to the table. They have applied that skill to navigating the difficult waters of opening, and keeping open, a small non-profit arts organization during a time of severe economic downturn and uncertainty. The management's protocol of review and learning from each production has helped them be more responsive to their audience and develop a very loyal patron base.
To date, the Theatre has measured its success in a variety of ways: by looking at attendance numbers, by evaluating published critical reviews, and by conducting talk-backs and evaluating feedback from its audiences. The Theatre also keeps close tabs on its fundraising success, especially in the field of grants received from state and national organizations and foundations. By reviewing the history of similar organizations, but perhaps 10-15 years further along in their development, the organization has many examples to follow and learn from. The founders and board continue to watch the theatre's numbers, especially when planning future growth.
The accomplishments of the Williamston Theatre are many: mounting 72 professional productions including 17 World Premieres, fostering the career development of young professionals in the field, creating dozens of jobs for Michigan artists each season, reviving a small town business district, not to mention touching the lives of patrons through well-told stories of life in the 21st Century. Additionally the Theatre has won national support and recognition for the caliber of its work - including a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing in 2014. Major goals in the next ten years include physical improvement of the theatre space to make the theatre-going experience better for audience members, developing an Outreach arm that addresses a demonstrated need in arts education in the region, and developing a new work that starts on the Williamston Theatre stage and moves to a New York City production.