Mainspring Arts Cooperative (MAC) was founded in November 2015 by veteran theater leaders Trish Santini (Guthrie Theater), Frank Butler (Guthrie Theater, American Repertory Theater), and Peter Flynn (Hangar Theatre), in response to a national conversation among American regional theaters regarding the increased pressure of capitalizing seasons with robust artistic projects that engage diverse audiences.
MAC launched in 2015 with a reading of The Towns Project, a theatrical exploration of race and community through Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Will Eno's Middletown. The project is in development by MAC founder and producer Peter Flynn. In 2016, MAC supported the artistic development of Anna Deavere Smith's Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education (winner, 2017 Lucille Lortel Award), with presentations at the Old Globe in San Diego, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the Aspen Ideas Festival, and subsequently negotiated the arrangements for the 2016 co-production between American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA and Second Stage Theatre in NYC. The project premiered in an HBO film presentation of the same name in February 2018. In 2016, MAC also produced an industry reading of Fixing Frankie, a new musical written by Joe Langworth and Steve Marzullo.
In the summer of 2016, MAC Producers Trish Santini and Frank Butler presented the MAC model at the TCG National Conference, which initiated a partnership with Tectonic Theater Project (Artistic Director and 2015 National Medal of Arts winner, Moisés Kaufman). In January 2017, MAC supported the world premiere of Tectonic’s new play Uncommon Sense at UNI’s Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center and in November 2017, served as executive producers for the play's NY premiere at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture. Also in fall 2017, MAC produced a reading of Anne of Green Gables, a new musical by Matte O'Brien and Matt Vinson and negotiated the upcoming July 2018 production at the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival. In November 2017, MAC produced an industry reading of the Webby-award winning Wait Wait Don't Kill Me, a new satirical musical by Alan Schmuckler (2018 Kleban Award Winner) and Dave Holstein (creator of Showtime's new television series "Kidding" with Jim Carrey.)