Having considered the costs and logistics involved with the project, the management of the CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center has given the go ahead for the reopening of the Bimbo Rivas Theatre for use during the New York City Fringe Festival this summer.
As reported June 29, Present Company artistic director John Clancy and CHARAS Community Center organizer Susan Howard are pooling their resources and preparing five mini "venues" within the Lower East Side CHARAS building to stage Fringe Festival events when that program starts Aug. 12.
The Bimbo Rivas will be one of the five Fringe venues at CHARAS. It is located in the facility's basement. The theatre's namesake, Bimbo Rivas, was a popular Lower East Side poet and playwright. The Latino Theatre Workshop was conducted in the Bimbo Rivas for several years before problems with the ventilation system forced it to close.
Fringe Festival organizer John Clancy said, "the Theatorium will continue to be the anchor venue and central box office for the Fringe Festival." New York City is the seventh major U.S. city to host a fringe festival. Gotham joined Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco as a fringe festival host city in 1997.
CHARAS was the former New York Public School 64. A popular community center for more than 20 years, the center's management is battling its landlord, the City of New York, which sold the property to developer Gregg Singer at auction. CHARAS claims it has a right to buy the building and the group has demonstrated every time the new owner has shown the building. Ticket information on the Fringe Festival can be obtained by calling (212) 420-8888 or by visiting www.fringenyc.org.
-- By Murdoch McBride