Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Connecticut Forum?

The Connecticut Forum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that presents live, unscripted conversations among renowned experts and celebrities, and community outreach programs including the Connecticut YOUTH Forum. Our mission: to encourage the free and active exchange of ideas in forums that inform, challenge, entertain, inspire and build bridges among all people and organizations in our community.

Where and when are Connecticut Forums held?

Connecticut Forums are held at the historic Bushnell theater, located at 166 Capitol Avenue in Hartford, CT. Forums begin at 7:30 PM; doors open at 6:30 PM. At times, The Forum offers simulcasts of popular Forums at the Belding theater at The Bushnell, as well as at other venues. Directions to Bushnell theater.

Who decides Forum topics?

Planning each Connecticut Forum season is an ongoing process that begins 10 months prior to the start of each Forum season. We convene task groups composed of community members, subscribers, volunteers, board members, students, business leaders, and others to review and discuss a list of more than 30 potential topics and brainstorm other potential issues and panelists. We create a "season ballot" featuring 8-12 topics and ask our Forum Family of subscribers, sponsors, volunteers, and audience members to vote for their top four topics and suggest potential panelists. By early spring, four issues surface as the best line-up for a varied, timely, exciting season and The Connecticut Forum Season is announced.

Who chooses Forum panelists?

After the four Forum topics are announced (see above), we continue to solicit panelist suggestions from our Forum Family and the general public. Our goal is to represent topical issues with experts/celebrities who, as a group, bring a varied, balanced perspective. We seek diverse viewpoints and panelists who can best articulate the full range of thinking on each issue.

What do panelists think about The Connecticut Forum?

Overwhelmingly, panelists are surprised and delighted by their Forum experience. Their surprise extends to the warm hospitality and travel arrangements provided by The Connecticut Forum, the beauty of The Bushnell Theater and the sold-out audiences who are engaged and attentive throughout the evening. Panelists remark that they have never shared a stage in a live format with fellow experts, that they themselves learn and consider new aspects to the issues. They are impressed by the breadth of The Connecticut Forum, especially our outreach to teenagers in the Connecticut YOUTH Forum.

What is the format of a Forum evening?

Forum evenings begin at The Bushnell at 7:30 PM; doors open and often there are activities in the theater lobby starting at 6:30 PM. At 7:30 PM the audience is welcomed and panelists are introduced. The first half of the evening consists of questions posed to the panel by our moderator. During intermission, approximately 8:45 PM, the audience is able to submit written questions for the moderator to ask during the second half. Volunteers collect audience questions and from 9:05 – 9:45 PM, panelists respond to audience questions.

Are there any Forum discounts?

Yes! The Connecticut Forum offers discounts to Forum Subscribers, Sponsors, and groups of 10 or more. Season subscribers enjoy the lowest per-Forum ticket price, saving up to $71 over the cost of individual tickets, never pay ticket handling fees on additional tickets, and enjoy a variety of dining discounts and special subscriber opportunities. Young adults aged 21-35 can purchase 4-event Young Patron Passport season subscriptions at a discounted rate. Employees of Forum Sponsors receive a 10% discount on season subscriptions. Ticket prices are discounted for groups of 10 or more. Our Ticket Outreach Program provides tickets free-of-charge to participating Connecticut YOUTH Forum members and qualified Hartford nonprofit and community organizations. Purchase your tickets now.

Can I bring my children to the Forum?

The Forums are always appropriate for high school-aged youth and, depending on the topic, for middle school-aged youth. It is important to know that the forums are issue-driven, live and unscripted. The more youth are familiar with the issues and panelists, the greater they will enjoy their Forum experience.

How can I obtain a DVD of a Forum event?

The Connecticut Forum is recorded for archival and educational purposes. DVDs may be loaned to groups for educational purposes; contact The Connecticut Forum, 860-509-0909 to inquire about availability and to make loan requests. DVDs are not for sale.

Are Forums shown on TV?

Occasionally, Connecticut Public Television is permitted to broadcast forum discussions.

Are there volunteer opportunities at The Connecticut Forum?

Absolutely YES! There are wonderful and varied volunteer opportunities with The Connecticut Forum. From 1992-1996 we were an ALL volunteer organization and today we continue to value and rely on volunteers in many ways. Please contact us or call 860-509-0909 if you would like to become a Connecticut Forum volunteer.

How can my organization become a sponsor?

Contact us! For more information about sponsorship of The Connecticut Forum or YOUTH Forum, please contact Holly Howley  or call 860.509.0909. 

What is The Connecticut YOUTH Forum?

The Connecticut YOUTH Forum is a community outreach program of The Connecticut Forum that for the past 26 years has been providing unique opportunities for teenagers to connect and engage with each other across geographic, economic, social and racial divides. At The Connecticut YOUTH Forum, diverse teens from different towns come together and talk about issues that they care about in a format of open, honest discussion and with a Culture of Validation. The award-winning Connecticut YOUTH Forum is a voluntary high school youth program serving more than 750 students from 40 high schools and youth organizations that provides monthly opportunities for youth to communicate and connect with each other across the divides of geography, race, sexual orientation, economics, and more. With average attendance of 200 diverse teens, monthly meetings of the YOUTH Forum take place in participating high schools where issues of importance to members are discussed in an atmosphere of respect, civility and honesty. The extensive networks developed around these monthly meetings and additional initiatives of Leadership, Community Service, and Technology special interest groups help develop important life skills.

How can I get involved in the Connecticut YOUTH Forum?

The Connecticut YOUTH Forum is open to all interested teenagers. There are no academic criteria or recommendations necessary and participation is free. Interested teenagers, teachers, parents and schools should contact Alex Taylor.