For Immediate Release

Contact: Theresa M. MacNaughton,, 860-520-7114

Hartford Stage and Christ Church Cathedral partner to launch PlayDate, a free babysitting service for theatregoers, during Cry it Out

Kathleen Register (L), the Very Rev. Miguelina Howell (C), and Shanice Outar (R) with PlayDate guests. Photo courtesy: C. Oliver/Hartford Stage

HARTFORD, CT — October 24, 2019 — Hartford Stage and Christ Church Cathedral are partnering to provide free babysitting services for theatregoers. PlayDate will offer reliable, convenient babysitting for parents and guardians eager to relax and enjoy a live theatre performance. The service will be available during the 2 p.m. matinee performances of Cry it Out on Saturday, November 2, and Sunday, November 3.

“We are thrilled to be offering this opportunity to families in our community – and what better play to start this initiative than Cry it Out, a witty exploration of the challenges of becoming a full-time caregiver overnight.  We hope this makes our theatre more accessible for everyone, including parents of young children,” said Melia Bensussen, Hartford Stage Artistic Director. “As we continue to work to keep Hartford Stage an essential civic institution in the city, we are pleased to partner with our direct neighbors, Christ Church Cathedral, to strengthen this vital corner in the city of Hartford.”

Parents and guardians of children ages 2 to 10 can participate in PlayDate. Babysitting services are provided by background-checked and vetted caregivers at Christ Church Cathedral, located directly across the street from Hartford Stage. During their PlayDate, younger children can play with age-appropriate toys and coloring pages, while older children can enjoy movies and board games.

PlayDate received a soft launch on Sunday, October 13, during the closing performance of Quixote Nuevo. The new service received positive feedback from parents and guardians who participated. One parent noted that PlayDate “made it actually possible for us to come see a show, when it is otherwise very cost-prohibitive at this point in our lives.” 

“This partnership is a response to our commitment of being a cathedral for the 21st century,” said The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, Cathedral Dean. “This is a new way of being church. Our calling is to meet God and God’s people in the neighborhood, and what better place to do so than at the theatre.”

Christ Church Cathedral has previously partnered with Hartford Stage on several community engagement initiatives, including Having Their Say: Generations in Conversation – an intergenerational oral history storytelling project which debuted in 2016 during Having Our Say: The Delany Sister’s First 100 Years.

For more information about PlayDate, visit


Hartford Stage enters its 56th season beginning an exciting new chapter. Newly-appointed Artistic Director Melia Bensussen and Managing Director Cynthia Rider will continue the theatre’s legacy of artistic excellence by creating theatrical works that enlighten, entertain, and educate.

Renowned for producing innovative revivals of classics, as well as provocative new plays and musicals,  Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Additional national recognition includes honors from the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, American Theatre Wing (OBIE), and the New York Critics Circle.

Hartford Stage has produced over 80 world and North American premieres, including the new musical Anastasia, which enjoyed a two-year run on Broadway; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Other notable premieres include The Engagement Party by Samuel Baum; Make Believe by Bess Wohl; The Age of Innocence by Douglas McGrath; Seder by Sarah Gancher; Rear Window, adapted by Keith Reddin, and starring Kevin Bacon; An Opening in Time by Christopher Shinn; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty. Nationally-renowned titles include the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans’ Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger’s Children; and Tea at Five.The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Hartford Stage’s offerings include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.

The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Education @ Hartford Stage offers student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses. Education @ Hartford Stage programming reaches approximately 21,000 Connecticut students annually.

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