... About Us

About Steamer No.10 Theatre

Steamer No.10 is a small not-for-profit theatre company whose primary mission is Theatre-For-Young-Audiences.  It was founded in 1989 by, and operates under the direction of, Richard Chesser.  He serves as the Executive Director supervising the numerous programs that serve the children and families of New York’s Capital Region.  Mr. Chesser’s background includes a B.A. in Theatre from Goddard College, with Minor’s in Dance and Graphic Arts and more than thirty years experience as an actor and director.

Some of Steamer No.10′s programs include:

C.A.S.T. – Creative Arts at Steamer Ten    C.A.S.T. is our theatre arts school teaching students the basics of drama, dance, movement, music, as well as designing sets and costumes.  It is run by Jacqueline Donnaruma whose background includes: an M.A. Educational Theatre from New York University; Post-graduate study in Childhood Education at the College of Saint Rose; and a B.A. Theatre/Dramatic Literature from Wheaton College.

Kids Fare – professionally produced Theatre-For-Young-Audiences that includes up to a half-dozen shows each year for nearly fifty performances each year.  The shows utilize professional actors, dancers, musicians, directors, and designers to create high quality performances for a family audience.  The program is under the direction of Mr. Chesser.

Vacation Daze – a series of shows during the school vacation breaks that utilize professional puppeteers, magicians, musicians, storytellers, jugglers, and other performers with family-oriented shows.


Steamer No.10 Annual Campaign - WEB

Steamer No.10 Annual Appeal

Steamer No.10 Theatre, Inc. is a small, 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation.  We have a full time staff of one, and 5-7 part-time actors, teachers, directors, designers, whatever job needs doing.  We earn more than 65% of our $200,000 budget; however we still need to raise that other $70,000. Please become a member of the Steamer No.10 family as we move on toward a fantastic season of family oriented cultural entertainment.

We have launched our 2014 – 2015 season and here is an overview of what we have planned:

  • six family oriented productions using professional actors are planned for 60 to 70 performances;
  • we’re bringing in fifteen different artists for kids with our Vacation Daze series for 35 to 40 performances;
  • we host Theater Voices for free staged readings of four shows for 16 performances;
  • and the Eclectic Series will feature at least 10 different artists who will both entertain and challenge our adult audience.
  • our theatre arts school – C.A.S.T. – Creative Arts at Steamer Ten – offers classes and produces shows for students 8-18.  This year we will produce three C.A.S.T. shows – produced entirely by students, plus two C.A.S.T./Kids Fare shows where students work with professional actors.

This past year we offered more than 150 performances, 400 classes/rehearsals with our students, community meetings, a day-long street fair to promote the neighborhood and other events. We don’t simply pinch pennies, we make sure every one of them is spent in a way that serves our mission of introducing children and families to live theatre.

Steamer No.10 is the Capital Region’s Children’s Theatre, the place where kids are introduced to the performing arts.  Please become a member of the Steamer No.10 family as we move toward a fantastic season of family oriented cultural entertainment.


Steamer No. 10 Theater, Inc.

Our Mission and How We Achieve It

We want to get children, adults, teachers, grandparents…everyone…excited about theatre and the performing arts. Everyone should attend live performances with a burning desire to see more.

Today, Steamer No.10 Theatre, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt professional theatre producing and presenting shows for children and families, and touring to schools and theatres throughout the Northeast. We produce five shows per year as part of our Kids’ Fare Series. Our Vacation Daze Series feature a different performer for each day of the major mid-year school breaks. Creative Arts at Steamer Ten (C.A.S.T.) is our theatre arts school, which introduces kids to performing and our audiences to performing kids! All told, we reach between 10,000 and 15,000 people each year.

Other Activities

We have a responsibility to use our talents and facility for the benefit of the community’s children and families while remaining true to our mission. To this end we have begun our Eclectic Performance Series, providing a venue for works which might have trouble finding such. We host Theater Voices, producers of free staged readings of classic theatre. Our C.A.S.T. Program is a source of classes and workshops to educate children interested in theatre. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops sometimes enlist us in their quests for theatre merit badges.

But it’s not all theatre. There is no doubt that we can only exist through the goodwill and efforts of our community, so we seek to not only further the interests of our community, but the solidarity of that community. We have served as a polling location. We are a meeting place for such groups as New Albany Neighborhood Association, Pine Hills Neighborhood Association, and Capital District Community Gardens. We are an integral component of the burgeoning Taste of Upper Madison Street Festival. It is our belief that there is a symbiotic relationship between the theatre and the public: we all grow together.


Steamer No. 10 location: 500 Western Avenue Albany, NY 12203

Steamer No. 10 location: 500 Western Avenue Albany, NY 12203

To find us: We are located at 500 Western Ave., which is in the fork of Western and Madison.

  • From the Northway (I-87): go south to Western Ave and turn left. We are three miles from the end of the Northway. When the road forks, veer left to stay on Western Avenue.
  • From I-90: take Exit 5, and go south on Everett Rd. Proceed to Central Ave and turn left. Take a right onto N. Allen St. and then a left onto Western Ave.

Both of the above options put you on Western Ave. heading east. After you cross North Allen, we are the first building on the right… the back half of the police station. Look for the drawbridge – that’s our entrance. There is on-street parking (the meters on Madison are only for weekdays) or at the Citizens’ Bank parking lot (non-banking hours only).

If you don’t trust these directions you can always try MapQuest, or if you have any questions, you can always give us a call.

C.A.S.T. (Creative Arts at Steamer Ten)

C.A.S.T. (Creative Arts at Steamer Ten)

C.A.S.T. logo

C.A.S.T. (Creative Arts at Steamer Ten)

Creative Arts at Steamer Ten (CAST) is Steamer No.10′s multi-disciplinary theatre arts school. Each session offers students a unique opportunity to explore some combination of acting, singing, and/or dancing under the supervision of our team of professional instructors. Experience is not required – just the willingness to have fun while learning the ins and outs of working in a professional theatre.

As part of the C.A.S.T program, theatre exercises and warm- ups are a vital part of the overall theatre experience and learning process. When it comes to putting on a successful production, creating a strong sense of community among its cast members is essential. It is through various theatre exercises that such a relationship is established. These exercises involve playing many fun games, but it is through these games that students begin to gain a better understanding of what it means to be an ensemble and to collaborate. Moreover, the games promote confidence and work to improve social and communication skills.


About Eclectic Performances

This is our adult entertainment. As a children’s theatre we do most of our business in the daytime but we began hosting  Theater Voices  in the evenings and found an audience of adults eager for evening entertainment. We still had plenty of evenings free so the Eclectic Performance Series was born. The goal of the  Eclectic Performance Series  is to provide artists not yet established with a performance venue, and expand the boundaries of the arts in the Capital District.

If you have a project in need of a performance space, e-mail us at info@steamer10theatre.org.

Link to a page of Electic Performances

Family Oriented Shows

Family Oriented Shows

info to come


info to come

Community Relations

info to come

Board of Directors


Steamer No. 10 History

Steamer No.10 – Ext. 1891- 01

Steamer No.10 – Ext. 1892 – Amoskeag Steamer No. 244

Steamer No.10 - Ext. 1921 - American LaFrance

Steamer No.10 – Ext. 1921 – American LaFrance

Steamer No.10 – Ext. 1954 – American LaFrance – Civil Defense Engine

We are located at the intersection of Allen St, Western Avenue, and Madison Avenue in Albany, NY. In 1828 this was the starting point of the first train in New York State – the Dewitt Clinton, a passenger train which went to Crane St. in Schenectady. More than half a century later, in 1891, our building was constructed as the tenth firehouse in the city of Albany to house a steam-powered fire engine. In 1910 the city started experimenting with automotive fire trucks and by 1925 had committed to them. At this time, the city tore down the horse barn and added the hose tower as well as Central Station – a police station – to the firehouse.

Although the adjoining police station is still active Albany eventually stopped using the Steamer No. 10 Fire Station in 1989. The steam powered fire engine was long gone, but Steamer No. 10 was, and still is, carved in stone above the door. When we moved in and had to choose a name for ourselves, what choice did we have? We kept it!

Steamer No.10 Theatre opened on February First, 1991, after a two year, $300,000 renovation of the firehouse. We created a 120 seat proscenium theatre with excellent sightlines and acoustics, a state-of-the-art theatrical lighting system and office space. We installed new seats in the fall of 2005 with the help of grants from Verizon Wireless and the New York State Council on the Arts, replacing seats which served in the now absent Hellman Theatre from 1959 to 1989. New carpeting and fresh paint on the walls complete the interior makeover. We’ve also undertaken another addition to the old firehouse…a lobby, which is under construction even now. Once complete it will evoke the image of a fantasy castle, complete with drawbridge, while maintaining the architectural integrity of the original fire station. To see just what we’re doing, take a look at the castle. One of our mottos is that “Many hands make light work”, so if you would like to help this project along why don’t you volunteer!

Volunteer Opportunities

Steamer No. 10 welcomes volunteers of any age to help us throughout the season and to see some shows for free! We welcome your individual ideas and talents, but here are some specific areas in which we encourage volunteer participation:

  • Concessions -Make popcorn, sell the goodies du jour. We have a very simple price list: every item is one dollar.
  • Cleaning – Take out the trash, vacuum, clean the restrooms. Things everybody should know how to do.
  • Publicity – Distributing fliers, or picking them up at the printer. We have directions and maps.
  • Tech -Sound, lighting, set-building, scenic painting, or costuming…or maybe as simple as painting the stage black.
  • Construction – We’re deep in the process of being our own general contractor, adding a lobby onto the theatre entrance. We also routinely need to build set pieces for our shows. If you have a skill and can volunteer some time, we want to talk to you. If you don’t have a skill, we can teach you one.
  • Board of Directors – We want people who want to help Steamer No.10 thrive! People who attend our shows and who believe the children of our region should enjoy a variety of high-quality performing arts in an exciting, intimate setting. It also means helping us raise the funding we need to operate.

Students: We are a not-for-profit professional theater, so local students may be able to fulfill internship or service hour requirements at Steamer No.10, gaining valuable experience and helping to create the magic of theater in the process. You might find yourself involved in any or all of the following: acting, costuming, set-building, scenic painting, electrics, or theater administration (yes, theaters have offices, too).