Joe Raiola, President, Artistic Director

Since joining the Theatre Within Workshop in the late 1970s, Joe Raiola has had a flourishing career as a comedian, comedy writer, producer, speaker on first amendment issues, and workshop leader.

For 33 years, through the end of 2017, Joe was an Editor at MAD Magazine, churning out a steady stream of pointed political satire and pure silliness.

As a performer, he continues to appear around the country in The Joy of Censorship, his long-running first amendment program, which he has performed at professional conferences, public libraries, colleges, and regional theaters in 44 states.

In addition, Joe has appeared in benefits for many non-profits and charitable causes, including the Henry Miller Memorial Library, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, and Stand-up for Charlie Hebdo, a benefit for families of the victims of the attack on the French humor magazine.

As a producer, Joe co-created the Annual John Lennon Tribute with Theatre Within Workshop Founder, Alec Rubin, in 1981.

Throughout his success, Joe has remained true to his Theatre Within roots. In 2006, shortly after Alec’s death, he established Theatre Within as a non-profit
dedicated to having a positive social impact through its workshops and productions.

Under Joe’s visionary leadership, the Annual John Lennon Tribute soon evolved from a small neighborhood gathering to an important New York City charity concert, attracting top artists, fans from around the world, and raising funds for local and international charities.

In 2008, Joe brought Yoko Ono and WhyHunger together, resulting in the launch of the “Imagine There’s No Hunger” global campaign. In 2014, in recognition of his achievements, he was a recipient of TimeWarner’s prestigious Richard D. Parsons Community Impact Award.

In 2015, Joe set Theatre Within on a new course, focusing on providing ongoing, free workshops for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer at Gilda’s Club, NYC. Theatre Within now offers workshops in meditation, songwriting, art and more to children who have lost a parent to cancer and adult cancer survivors. For his overwhelmingly positive community impact, Joe was chosen as one of NY1’s “New Yorker of the Week” in 2017.

After 40+ years, Joe remains committed to furthering Theatre Within creative and life-affirming mission.

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