Our Mission

DENIZEN Theatre will explore what it means to be human in all its duality and complexity, producing new works that provoke, challenge, and inspire often ignored conversations.



DENIZEN Theatre is a non-profit, arts organization producing intimate, professional, live theatre at Water Street Market in New Paltz, New York.

Our flexible, 70 seat, black box theatre allows audiences to experience compelling, actor-driven, live theatre with a season of plays that focuses on new works, emerging playwrights, and powerful themes.


DENIZEN Theatre pledges to make live theatre accessible to everyone in the community with affordable ticket prices, internships, and workshops.

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our 2022 season-programming team


kirsty gaukel
Executive Director

Originally from Scotland and now claiming the Hudson Valley as her home, Kirsty is an nonprofit leader with two decades of experience in the performing arts.  Kirsty believes in the power of storytelling and the magic of creative expression to build connection, empathy and community. She has previously held positions with 59E59 Theaters, Actors Theatre of Louisville, West Fulton Arts, Trinity Repertory Company, and Tron Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Glasgow International and Citizens Theatre in Scotland. 

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Andy gaukel
Artistic Director

Andy Gaukel is a Hudson Valley based theatre and puppetry artist and educator.
His original works, Schweinehund (2015) and Calm Blue Sky (2019), premiered at the Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes in Charleville-Mézières, France, and have since been presented throughout the world.

He is the proud recipient of five Jim Henson Foundation grants to help further his original work. In May 2022, Andy’s newest puppetry piece, Animist, will premiere at HERE Arts Center in NYC. Andy’s recent acting credits include Peter and the Starcatcher, Dracula, A Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre of Louisville. And The Merry Wives of Windsor and Much Ado About Nothing at The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. He is a 2003 graduate of Trinity Rep. Conservatory with an MFA in Acting. 


Harry Lipstein
Founder & President

Harry Lipstein is the Founder & Producing Artistic Director of the DENIZEN Theatre since 2018. Founder of the Urbanite Theatre in Sarasota Florida and also Founding Ensemble Member. Harry studied acting in New York City with Willam Esper and is a Proud Member of AEA. He also has an advanced 5-year Professional Architectural Degree from Syracuse University. “Intimate black box theatre makes the incomprehensible realities of our world a little more comprehensible for all of us.”


JJ Kandel
Artistic Associate

J.J. Kandel is the co-founder & producing artistic director of the Summer Shorts at 59E59 Theaters, and is DENIZEN Theatre’s artistic associate since January 2020. Previous directing credits include the plays Lucky (World Premiere) by Sharr White; In This, Our Time (World Premiere) by Academy Award- winner Alexander Dinelaris; and the upcoming short film Sparring Partner by Neil LaBute with Cecily Strong and KeiLyn Durrel Jones.


"I cannot sing enough praise for Denizen Theatre. I am a true fan. What a fabulous gift it is to have this jewel of a black box theatre in New Paltz...The selections are always thought provoking, speak to the times

and touch one's heart."

— Elise