"...arguably the epicenter of the independent theater world in New York."
-- Leonard Jacobs

Mission Statement

Horse Trade’s continuing mission is to seek out new art, new artists, and new audiences.  To create an accessible community of varied voices that values collaboration, resourcefulness, and innovation. To provide a home for independent theater artists by nurturing their development and helping to establish their artistic careers . To expose their work and promote it to local, national, and international audiences.

Short Bio

Horse Trade is a self-sustaining theater development group which focuses on new work. It has produced a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater.  Horse Trade’s Resident Artist Program offers a home to a select group of Independent Theater artists, pooling together a great deal of talent and energy.  It is also the home of FRIGID New York – the first and only festival of its kind in New York City.

About Horse Trade

Horse Trade Theater Group was founded in 1998 by Russell Dobular, Kimo DeSean, and Erez Ziv in - what some would call -  a moment of temporary insanity. Riding the wave of the flourishing then-downtown Off-Off Broadway scene, the aim was and is to form a self-sustaining theater group; one that would focus on new work and provide affordable rental space to scores of Independent artists as well as produce a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater. It has been working.

Changing paths from Central Park Handsome Cab Drivers (that’s right - horse drawn carriage drivers) to East Village Theater producers, Horse Trade took root at the legendary 85 East 4th Street (also home of the KGB Bar) in The Red Room and The Kraine Theater. Within a year they had expanded to include UNDER St. Marks, which had been an experimental Theater space since the 1970’s. Horse TRADE continues to hold ground on both St. Marks Place and ‘Downtown Theater Row;’ neighboring LaMama, New York Theater Workshop, Wow Café, DUO, Paradise, IATI, and many others, while preserving its self-sustaining model. 

In 1999, the Resident Program was instated, offering an artistic home to a select group of Off-Off Broadway artists, pooling together a great deal of talent and energy while focusing on their individuality as independent companies. Based on each company’s independent needs, this program provides an artistic home through rehearsal & performance space, as well as administrative, marketing, and artistic support. It has provided the platform for many new playwrights to be published in several editions of Plays and Playwrights, Playing with Canons, and numerous monologue books - enabling some of these works to be revived around the country and the world. Resident Alumni have gone on to tour all over the United States and Europe. Other essential Horse TRADE programs have included Guest Artists and Co-Productions, the LAB @ Horse TRADE, SF; The Sci-Fi Event, the HA! Comedy Festival, The Drafts, Told and of Course FRIGID new york.

In 2006, Horse TRADE (with the help of EXIT Theatre – the home of San Francisco Fringe) was proudly accepted into the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals. and FRIGID new york was born, the first festival of its kind in New York City.  FRIGID is an entirely Open and Uncensored Indie theater festival, in which the artists keep 100% of their earnings.

over a daceade later that momentary lapse of judgment has seen the success of hundreds of Off-Off Broadway artists, and the develpement of a company that proudly continues to play a part in fueling and supporting the ever-evolving indie theater scene.  Horse TRADE continues its commitment to an independent theater community, helping to sustain the numerous voices that make up the varied landscape of this vital art form.

Horse Trade looks forward to begining its second dacade of programing with the return of FRIGID New York, joining The League of Independent Theater, new works by veteran and continuing residents, new artists, Beer and wine at UNDER St. Marks, Told, and The Drafts, to name just a few.

Who is Horse Trade Theater Group...

Erez Ziv
Co-Founder / Managing Director

James T.

Heidi Grumelot
Artistic Development

Elaine Jones
Technical Director

Emily Owens


The original Crew

Dysfunctional Theatre Company
Resident Artists Since 2001
The Pumpkin Pie Show
Resident Artists 1999-2004


Subjective Theater Company
Resident Artists Since 2009
No Tea Productions
Resident Artists Since 2008
The Management Company
Resident Artists Since 2008
The BE Company
Resident Artists Since 2009
The Assembly
Resident Artists Since 2009
Wreckio Ensemble
Resident Artists Since 2009
Rising Sun Performace Company
Resident Artists Since 2005
Amuse Collective
Resident Artists Since 2009

Erez Ziv
Managing Director
Rental and Business Office
fax: 212.777.6120

Heidi Grumelot works for Horse Trade Theater Group and is responsible for Artistic Development including literary management, producing TOLD, directing the Drafts, and facilitating a monthly original play reading series. She worked as a casting assistant for Impressionism on Broadway; The Cripple of Inishman at Atlantic Theater Company; the World Premier of Shawshank Redemption at The Gaiety Theater in Dublin; Holiday Garland at The Westport Country Playhouse; and Hamlet and Hair at Shakespeare in the Park. She assistant directed and stage managed Anthony & Cleopatra, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and A Christmas Carol for the American Shakespeare Center. Her directing credits include An Absolutely Perfect Life at UNDER St. Marks, punkrock/lovesong at The Brick, Dido and Aeneas for The New York Collective of Performing Arts at The West End Theater and The Boston Early Music Festival; A River Pure for Healing at Under St Marks Theater, Accidents Do Happen and Tom’s Things in The Red Room; and A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Jungle Book, The Tempest, and Love's Labour's Lost in theaters in Michigan and Virginia.

Elaine Jones

Emily Owens

Emily Owens PR is a New York City-based public relations agency specializing in off-off Broadway theatre.
We operate on the belief that theatre is an artistic, collaborative process, so why shouldn't your publicity be too?
We work with you to highlight the unique angle of your show and help your production stand out from the crowd and get noticed.


The Original Crew

Kimo DeSean
Co-Founder / Producing Artistic Director 2000 - 2005

Kimo's unique approach and commitment to Horse Trade Theater Group and the Resident Artist and Guest Artist Programs have given wings to an ever-growing number successful productions of various disciplines within the theater. His insistence on nurturing and developing artistic potential and fostering growth in the creative, marketing and production aspects of the artists' work has made this program one of the most sought after on the downtown theater scene.

Kimo created and developed the company's publicity and marketing plans including promotions, graphics and web design. He has been instrumental in designing and planning the HA! Comedy Fest, The LAB @ Horse Trade and SF, the Sci-Fi Event.

Now as Kimo leaves Horse Trade to embark on independant artistic projects he continues to refine his work and develop projects in the visual arts.

Russell Dobular
Co-Founder / Artistic Director 1998-2000

Russell Dobular is a New York native, born and raised in Flushing, Queens. He co-founded Horse Trade with the vision of providing affordable space to both new and established companies, and of creating an encouraging atmosphere for artists. As theatres are gradually priced out of the downtown scene, Russell is very proud to see Horse Trade continuing to flourish as a haven for daring new works. During his tenure he introduced the first resident artist programs at Horse Trade, and oversaw the production of several pieces from emerging playwrights, including Clay Chapman's Pumpkin Pie Show, Assurnipal Babilla's Something, Something Uber Alles, and Micheal Martin's Quentin T Does Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Since leaving Horse Trade, Russell has concentrated on his artistic ventures, including a production of his work, Overheard, by the Sacred Fools Company in Los Angeles, and the completion of his play Flounder and the Bad Acid. In the spring of '07, he will be directing the film Men's Health, from his own screenplay.

James T.

Erez Ziv
Managing Director

Erez has joyfully dedicated over a decade of his life to creating an entirely self sustaining off-off-Broadway theater company in New York City . His three stage performances include a bomb shelter performance of “Hit the Road Jack” at the age of 10 and speaking roles in two Yiddish productions (the last of which had him singing a Yiddish version of “the Age of Aquarius”). He has learned that he hates being on stage.

His educational history includes a BA in Jewish and Religious studies with a minor in comparative religion from the University of Minnesota, a semester at Oxford, and a never to be quite completed Masters Degree in Talmud and Rabbinics from JTS. He is a licensed fireguard, Handsom Cab Driver, sprinkler systems inspector, flame proofing Supervisor and wedding ceremony officiant.

He is very happy to have helped to firmly establish Horse Trade's reputation in the downtown theater scene and to create a well respected, self sufficient organization that has created and continues to create a home for some the New York City's most innovative, talented and hard working theater artists.

Thankfully the World keeps providing him with both fresh and refined talent to let loose on NYC.

Erez is also a father.