Culture Project Will Take Over MET Space

News   Culture Project Will Take Over MET Space The Culture Project will take over the Manhattan Ensemble Theater's space at 55 Mercer Street in January 2007, leaving behind its current building at 45 Bleecker Street.

The Culture Project, which produces politically themed works such as The Exonerated and Bridge & Tunnel, is giving up a two-theatre space —with a 199-seat theatre on the first floor and a 99-seater in the basement — and moving to a single 140-seat venue.

The company is buying the remaining ten years on MET's lease in a cost-cutting move that the company's founder and artistic director Alan Buchman says will save $300,000 over the first year alone.

MET's artistic director Dave Fishelson, who founded MET five years ago as a place for dramatic adaptations of literary works and real-life stories, told Playbill.com that he has spent the last 18 months trying to sell the lease. The Broadway transfer and tour of MET's play Golda's Balcony and the tour of MET's Nine Parts of Desire left little time to program a whole new season of shows, and Fishelson had been renting out the theatre to other companies.

Fishelson will continue to produce shows — either as a non-profit producer under the MET name, or as a private commercial producer. He might occasionally rent out his theatre from the Culture Project, or team with another theater.

The Culture Project's website — at least for the time being — is www.45bleecker.com. MET is at www.met.com.