21 Theatre Companies Earn Space in New NYC Theatres

by Jacob Coakley
The A.R.T/New York Theatres will open in November.
The A.R.T/New York Theatres will open in November.

The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York will open the A.R.T./New York Theatres in November. The two “affordable, state-of-the-art” performance spaces will receive generous rental subsidies from the city of New York, with a 91-year lease on the space to insure its continued operation, to serve “smaller budget” non-profit theatres. For their first year they have selected 21 nonprofit companies as their tenants.

ALLIANCE OF RESIDENT THEATRES/NEW YORK TO OPEN “A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES” AND ANNOUNCES SELECTION OF 21 NYC NONPROFIT COMPANIES FOR INAUGURAL 2017-18 SEASON
Two Affordable, State-Of-The-Art Performance Spaces with Generous Rental Subsidies to Serve New York City’s Smaller-Budget Nonprofit Theatres Under 91-Year Lease

NEW YORK (Tuesday, September 6, 2016) -  The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (Executive Director, Virginia P. Louloudes), New York City’s leading service and advocacy organization for nonprofit theatre, today announced that in late November 2016 it will open the A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES, two affordable, state-of-the-art performance spaces located at 502 West 53rd Street – designed by award-winning architect Toshiko Mori – along with its selection of 21 nonprofit companies for the inaugural 2017-18 season: Amas Musical Theatre, Broken Box Mime Theater, Buran Theatre, The Civilians, Dramatic Question Theatre, Houses on the Moon Theater Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company, The Movement Theatre Company, NAATCO, New Georges, New York City Children's Theater, New York Neo-Futurists, One Year Lease Theater Company, Pioneers Go East Collective, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Play Company, Project Y Theatre Company, Prospect Theater Company, Target Margin Theater, Theater Breaking Through Barriers and Transport Group Theatre Company.

“The A.R.T./New York Theatres are designed for New York’s diverse, adventurous, and artistically substantive companies that have operating budgets below $1 million,” said Executive Director Virginia P. Louloudes.  “More than 300 of these companies are the lifeblood of New York’s theatrical ecosystem—but they are poorly financed and mostly itinerant, without rehearsal or performance spaces of their own. They rent, and have struggled in recent years, even while producing award-winning new work and reaching large and diverse audiences in all five boroughs.”  A 2012 A.R.T./New York economic impact study showed that these theatres now spend 56% of their total operating budgets on performance space and labor alone.

The A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES will provide affordable performance space for New York City’s smaller-budget nonprofit theatres and will be modern and highly flexible spaces, with sophisticated technical equipment included in the weekly subsidized rental rates. Seating capacity is up to 87 seats in the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre and up to 149 seats in the Mezzanine Theatre, and audience seating can be arranged in various configurations to allow for creativity in scenic design and audience environment. The entire facility will be LEED Silver and ADA-accessible. Unlike 80 other small performance spaces that have been closed by their landlords over the past 15 years, the A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES are protected by City covenants and will be reserved for nonprofit theatre use under the terms of its lease.

After careful field work, member focus groups, economic assessment, and financial analysis, A.R.T./New York has committed to subsidizing the rental rates at the A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES to free up needed financial resources for creativity and art-making, and the organization has been raising support for a 25-year Rental Subsidy Fund. With this commitment, A.R.T./New York continues its distinguished 30-year track record of success in managing complex real estate projects, including its LuEsther T. Mertz South Oxford Space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Spaces @ 520 in Manhattan, and its multi-million-dollar Real Estate Loan Fund.

A.R.T./New York has established a grant program with a peer panel review process to select the companies who will receive subsidized rentals at the A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES. A grant process will provide a transparent and equitable means to share this resource among members of the field. To be eligible for a subsidized rental, a company must be an A.R.T./New York member with an annual operating budget under $1 million and does not own or hold a long-term lease on its own space.  The companies and plays selected represent a wide range of genres, budget sizes, and ethnicities.

Nicholas Viselli, Artistic Director of Theater Breaking Through Barriers, said, “TBTB is elated to be one of the first companies selected to perform at the A.R.T./New York Theatres in 2017. Finding affordable performance space in Manhattan has always been a challenge, but finding space that is both affordable and fully accessible to both artists and audiences with disabilities is far more difficult.  A.R.T./New York has managed to solve both issues by creating a modern, state-of-the-art facility. This subsidized space is invaluable because it will allow us to channel funds normally spent on rent and utilities, directly back into the company itself, allowing us to hire more artists, grow our infrastructure and develop more work.”

SUPPORT & FUNDING

Construction for the A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES is fully funded by the City of New York ($16.672 million), with an additional $400k leadership investment from New York State. The project is part of the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s Design Excellence Program, and supported by the City of New York, Bill deBlasio, Mayor; the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl and the New York City office of Design and Construction, Dr. Feniosky Pena-Mora, Commissioner.  State support was provided by the New York State Assembly: Carl Heastie, Speaker; and Linda Rosenthal, Member.

Leadership support for the Rental Subsidy Fund has been provided by Jeffrey and Paula Gural, the Ford Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and dozens of generous foundations and individuals. 

For more information about the Campaign for the A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES please contact Virginia P. Louloudes, Executive Director at (212) 244-6667 extension 228.

ARCHITECTURAL RENDERINGS

To download hi-res architectural renderings of the A.R.T./NEW YORK THEATRES, click here: renderings. PHOTO EDITORS: please credit all images c/o Toshiko Mori Architect.

BIOGRAPHIES

The A.R.T./New York Theatres are a project of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York), which provide state-of-the-art, accessible venues at subsidized rental rates, plus free access to top-line technical equipment, so that the city’s small and emerging theatre companies can continue to experiment, grow, and produce new works. Founded in 1972, A.R.T./New York is the leading service and advocacy organization for New York City’s 375+ nonprofit theatres, with a mission to assist member theatres in managing their companies effectively so that they may realize their rich artistic visions and serve their diverse audiences well. We accomplish this through a comprehensive roster of real estate, financial, educational, and community-building programs, as well as research, advocacy, and field-wide initiatives that seek to improve the long-term health and sustainability of the industry. Over the years, A.R.T./New York has received numerous honors, including an Obie Award, an Innovative Theatre Award, a New York City Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture, and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. For more information, please visit www.art-newyork.org.

INAUGURAL SEASON RENTERS

Amas Musical Theatre is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals, the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of inner-city young people.

Broken Box Mime Theater creates contemporary, original plays through mime and music, performing with a diverse ensemble of dynamic artists who believe that powerful storytelling requires little ornamentation, only great vision.

Buran Theatre is a NYC-based ensemble of disparate multidisciplinary and intergenerational artists who joyfully and anarchically reconfigure narrative, form, genre, gender and design to develop and present iconoclastic, surreal theatre productions.

The Civilians is a company that creates new theater from creative investigations into the most vital questions of the present. Through a number of artistic programs, The Civilians advances theater as an engine of artistic innovation and strengthens the connections between theater and society.

Dramatic Question Theatre is dedicated to developing and producing new plays by and for those on the margins of the American experience; we especially encourage women playwrights and playwrights of color.

Houses on the Moon Theater Company helps communities come together and make meaningful connections through the public sharing of their untold stories.

Ma-Yi Theater Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning theater company whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers. Since its founding in 1989, Ma-Yi has distinguished itself as one of the country’s leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today.

The Movement Theatre Company develops and produces new work by artists of color that engages uptown audiences in a rich theatrical dialogue, enlightens communities of color to issues affecting our world, and empowers emerging artists to explore their unique voice.

NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company) is dedicated to the assertion of Asian American representation on the American stage and the affirmation of our presence and significance in the history, society, and cultural life in this country.

New Georges, founded in 1992, is a strategically small company with a national reputation as a vigorous home for theatrically adventurous women artists and their exuberantly innovative new plays.

New York Neo-Futurists are a prolific ensemble of artists who for the past twelve years have been creating and producing innovative and new work weekly in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind in addition to other award winning off-off Broadway shows that adhere to the non-illusory, interactive and honest tenants of neo-futurism.

New York City Children's Theater is a nonprofit organization that creates original, entertaining and enriching theater for young audiences and adults to enjoy together.

One Year Lease Theater Company is an ensemble theater company that collaboratively creates new, innovative and highly physical works of theater.

Pioneers Go East Collective is a community of writers, musicians and designers who excavate timeless stories that emerge from memories of collective and individual vulnerability, otherness and courage.  The collective creates thought provoking impressions by exploring powerful social-political themes, merging documentary and theatre.

Pipeline Theatre Company, founded in 2009, believes that an unbridled imagination is a force of magic with the power to provoke a more courageous and compassionate world.

The Play Company is an award-winning international theatre for new writing, producing adventurous new work from the U.S. and abroad to link NYC artists and audiences with a whole world of plays.

Project Y Theatre Company is dedicated to developing new work by playwrights and theatre artists working in the indie theatre community, with a focus on women and LGBTQ voices. By mixing new technologies with the communal experience of traditional theatre, we allow the emerging and mid-career voices of to be part of the theatrical conversation in New York City.

Prospect Theater Company is dedicated to fostering and showcasing today’s new voices shaping tomorrow’s musicals, and has fully-produced more than 30 premieres off-Broadway in New York City.  Prospect was honored with a 2016 OBIE Award grant for its enterprising and risk-taking work in the field.

Target Margin Theater was founded in 1991 by David Herskovits on the principle that works of art return us to real truths more powerfully by their divergence from a strict illustration of reality. Through classic and contemporary texts, we seek continuously to expand our conception of what can take place in a theater.

Theater Breaking Through Barriers is the only Off-Broadway theater, and one of the few professional theaters in the country, dedicated to advancing actors and writers with disabilities and changing the image of people with disabilities from dependence to independence.

Transport Group Theatre Company stages new works and re-imagines revivals, both plays and musicals, by American writers.  Our visually progressive productions of emotionally classic stories explore relationship and identity in modern America.