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, thought leaders, and personalities, and outreach programs serving youth in our local frcommunity. 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 take place live at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, located at 166 Capitol Avenue in Hartford, CT. Doors open at 5:30pm, and Forums begin at 7:30 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 and parking information.


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 and can't happen without YOU! We convene task groups composed of diverse community members including Forum subscribers, volunteers, board members, students, business leaders, and others to review and brainstorm possible topics and panelists. We subsequently create a "season ballot" featuring 8-12 curated topics and ask our extended 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 our Forum season topics 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 and celebrities who, as a group, bring varied, balanced perspectives. We seek diverse viewpoints and panelists who can best articulate the full range of thinking on each issue and respond to the needs and interests of our local community.


What do panelists think about The Connecticut Forum?

Overwhelmingly, the expert and celebrity panelists who headline CT Forum events are surprised and delighted by their Forum experience, in part due to the warm hospitality and travel arrangements provided by The Connecticut Forum and beauty of The Bushnell theater, and also for the enthusiastic and often sold-out crowds who are engaged and attentive throughout each Forum evening. Panelists remark that they have never shared a stage before a live audience with such a unique combination of fellow experts, and that they themselves learn and consider new perspectives on issues from the experience. 


What is the format of a Forum evening?

CT Forum signature events take place at The Bushnell Theater in Hartford, CT from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Patrons can enter The Bushnell beginning at 5:30pm to enjoy amenities including bars and the cafe. The CT Forum Box Office opens at 6:30pm. At most CT Forum events, there are pre-Forum activities that take place in the theater lobby and/or The Bushnell courtyard starting at 6:30pm. Patrons may enter the theater at 7pm, and at 7:30pm the audience is welcomed and panelists are introduced. The first half of a Forum evening consists of questions posed to the panel by our moderator. During intermission, the audience is able to submit questions for the moderator to ask during The Forum's second half.


What is the security policy on Forum night?

The safety and security of all Forum patrons is our top priority, and we adhere to The Bushnell's policies and procedures to ensure a safe and welcoming space. For more information about The Bushnell's Safety and Security Policy, including the security screening process, prohibited items, and code of conduct, click here.


Are there any Forum discounts?

Yes! The Connecticut Forum offers discounts to Forum Season 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 and never paying handling fees on additional tickets. Plus, Season Subscribers enjoy a variety of dining discounts, perks, 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. Our Ticket Outreach Program provides tickets free-of-charge to participating Connecticut YOUTH Forum members and qualified Hartford nonprofit and community organizations. 


Do you offer ticket refunds?

All Connecticut Forum ticket sales are final. Connecticut Forum Season Subscribers have the benefit of donating unused tickets back to The Forum with at least two days' notice to receive a tax acknowledgment.


Can I bring my children to the Forum?

Connecticut 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 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 see past Forum events?

The Connecticut Forum is recorded for archival and educational purposes only. Please contact The Connecticut Forum to inquire about access to Forum archival content for educational purposes.


Are Forums shown on TV?

Historically, Connecticut Public Television has been permitted to broadcast select Connecticut Forum conversations for the benefit of our local community.


Are there volunteer opportunities at The Connecticut Forum?

YES! There are wonderful and varied volunteer opportunities with The Connecticut Forum and we need you! Please email us or call (860) 509-0909 if you would like to learn more about becoming a CT Forum volunteer.


How can my organization become a sponsor?

CONTACT US! We love our CT Forum sponsors. For more information about sponsorship of The Connecticut Forum, please contact Holly Howley or call 860.509.0909. 


What is The Connecticut YOUTH Forum?

The Connecticut YOUTH Forum is an award-winning community outreach program of The Connecticut Forum that provides unique opportunities for teenagers to connect and engage with each other across geographic, economic, social, and racial divides. Historically, the CT YOUTH Forum has served more than 750 students from 40 high schools and youth organizations each year with programming that promotes respect, civility, and honesty in a culture of validation.


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 Ruth Cullen