... 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 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.


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)

The Steamer 10 C.A.S.T. program — Creative Arts at Steamer Ten — introduces students to basic stage technique using creative dramatics, music and movement. Through positive reinforcement, students learn to respect others’ work, create scenes as an ensemble and work with a director, musical director, and choreographer. Theatre helps build self-confidence and communication skills, and it teaches poise, problem-solving and collaboration. The rehearsal process is really an educational process — but don’t tell your kids that if you don’t want to; they might be having too much fun to notice! The C.A.S.T. program is open to students ages 8 to 18. Experience is not required – just the willingness to have fun while learning the ins and outs of working in a professional theatre.

C.A.S.T. is run by Jacqueline Donnaruma. Her background includes an M.A. in educational theatre from New York University; post-graduate study in childhood education at The College of Saint Rose; and a B.A. in theatre/dramatic literature from Wheaton College.

C.A.S.T. is a tuition-based program, and scholarships are available.

During the school year, C.A.S.T. puts on productions in which most or all of the roles are filled by students. These family-oriented shows rehearse at least twice each week over the course of a 10-week period. The cast and crew create the sets and costumes for the show, which has 6 to 8 performances over two weekends. Auditions for upcoming productions are posted here, and on the Steamer 10 Facebook page.

In the summer we offer two other options:

Shakespeare in Lincoln Park gives students the opportunity to dive in to the language, wit and comedy of The Bard by performing in one of his timeless plays. In these C.A.S.T. shows, young performers have the chance to work with adult actors, who fill key roles. The performances are offered free of charge in Albany’s Lincoln Park. Click here for a gallery of photos from some of our Shakespeare productions.

C.A.S.T. also offers “Summer Sessions” — Monday-to-Friday workshops and/or one-act plays done in a single week. Roles are assigned on Monday, then we rehearse all week, adding costumes, props and sets. On Friday the kids give their performance, script in hand. See more information here.


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.
  • 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).


Links of Interest

These are links that we thought might be of interest to you. Some deal with a general topic of interest, some are the sites of performers we book or organizations that use our space, and others are valuable community resources. We are not responsible for the content of these sites but we’ve been to all of them and are certain that you are safe in exploring their content. Please let us know if you feel that the content of any of them is inappropriate for viewing by our patrons and we will look into it immediately. If you would like to be added as a link or know of a site you feel belongs on this list, please e-mail us at webmaster@steamer10theatre.org.


Nearby Restaurants:
Yahoo! Local Restaurant Guide
Yelp Restaurant Guide
Bruegger’s Bagels – http://www.brueggers.com/
Cafe Madison – http://cafe-madison.com/
Dunkin’ Donuts – https://www.dunkindonuts.com/
Juniors Bar & Grill – http://www.bmtmgt.com/juniors/index.html
Subway – http://www.subway.com/subwayroot/index.aspx


Children’s Entertainment:

Capital District Fun: Find things to do for kids & families in Albany, Schenectady, & Troy – http://www.capitaldistrictfun.com/
Kids Out and About: Another great resource when you want to find things to do in the Capital District – http://albany.kidsoutandabout.com/
The Airborne Comedians – http://www.airbornecomedians.com/index.html
Andy “The Music Man” Morse – http://www.andysings.com/
Ben Rudnick & Friends – http://www.myspace.com/benrudnick
Catskill Puppet Theater – http://www.catskillpuppettheater.baka.com
Circus Theatricks featuring Seano – http://www.circustheatricks.com/
Danna Banana – http://www.dannabanana.com/
David MacDonald Magic – http://davidmacdonaldmagic.com/
The Gizmo Guys – http://www.thegizmoguys.com
Henry Lappen a.k.a Henry the Juggler – http://www.henrylappen.com/
Keith Munslow – http://www.keithmunslow.com/

KoMotion Movement Theater – http://notjustmime.com
Lille Kartofler Puppet Theater featuring Matthias Kuchta – http://www.lille-kartofler.de/sites_e/about/actor.html
Magical Margo (Magician Margaret Steele) – http://www.magicalmargo.com/
Magician & Motivational Speaker Jim Snack – http://www.jimsnack.com
Melvin the Magnificent – http://mm.magicmelvin.com/mm/home/

National Marionette Theatre – http://nmtshow.com/index.html

The Puppet People – http://www.thepuppetpeople.org/default.htm
Puppet State Theatre Company – http://www.puppetstate.com/
Roger the Jester – http://www.ijest.com/
Silly Billy Magic – http://www.sillybillymagic.com
SteveSongs – http://www.stevesongs.com/
Tall Stories Theatre Company of London – http://www.tallstories.org.uk/
Tanglewood Marionettes – http://www.tanglewoodmarionettes.com
Theatre des Petites Ames – http://www.theatredespetitesames.com/en/compagnie.html
Ventriloquist Steve Charney – http://www.stevecharney.com
Wreckage-O-Rama, featuring Pat Ferri – http://wreckageorama.com
Z Puppets Rosenschnoz – http://www.zpuppets.org/
The Zucchini Brothers – http://www.zucchinibrothers.com


Reading Resources:

Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library – http://www.cphlibrary.org
Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg – http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

Pine Hills Branch of the Albany Public Library – http://www.albanypubliclibrary.org/locations/pinehills/

Upper Hudson Library System – http://www.uhls.org/new/members.asp


Arts Center in Saratoga Springs – http://saratoga-arts.org/
Capital Area Productions – http://www.capitalareaproductions.com/
Firlefanz Puppets – http://www.firlefanzgallery.com
Fort Salem Theater – http://www.fortsalemtheater.com/

Gail Sez – http://gailsez.org/
Mop and Bucket Company – http://www.mopco.org/
New York Capital District Theater Announcements/Auditions Mailing List – http://dx.ayw.org/mailman/listinfo/capdist-announce
Sandglass Theater – http://www.sandglasstheater.org
Theater Voices – http://www.theater voices.org/
Too Deep Entertainment – http://www.toodeepentertainment.org/


Albany Massage Therapy Associates – http://www.albanymassage.com/
Albany Extended Stay Hotel Network – http://albany.extendedstayhotelnetwork.com
Capital District Community Gardens – http://www.cdcg.org/
Cathedral Sound Studios – http://www.cathedralsoundstudios.com/

Hudson Valley Magazine – http://www.hvmag.com/
Insights Out Coaching – http://www.insightsoutcoaching.com/Insights_Out_Coaching/Welcome.html
Madison Theater – http://www.madison-theater.com/
Pine Haven Bed & Breakfast – http://www.pinehavenbedandbreakfast.com/
Pine Hills Branch of the Albany Public Library –  http://www.albanypubliclibrary.org/locations/pinehills/
Pine Hills Neighborhood Association – http://www.pinehillsna.org
Joseph Schuyler Photography – http://www.schuylerphotography.com/
Times Union – http://www.timesunion.com/