TFANA, founded by Jeffrey Horowitz in 1979, broke ground on its first permanent home on June 24. Playbill.com previously reported that Horowitz had invited TFANA veteran Taymor to direct the inaugural production at the new mainstage, but this is the first confirmation that she will indeed do so. Expect a "classic" title, perhaps Shakespeare, per TFANA's core mission. Taymor's directing credits over the years include the films "The Tempest" and "Titus" (based on Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus).
Taymor and Horowitz are now exploring ideas and titles. Taymor directed four plays for Theatre for a New Audience between 1996 and 2000. Her staging of Carlo Gozzi's The Green Bird for TFANA moved to Broadway in 2000.
The new theatre will open in spring 2013. The venue is "New York City's first new stage designed expressly for Shakespeare and classic drama since the completion of the Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center in 1965," according to TFANA.
First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and other officials were on hand for the ground-breaking ceremony.
TFANA's new home is the centerpiece of a $62.5 million capital campaign, which includes a $10 million endowment to support programs and operations within the new facility. The theatre, designed by architect Hugh Hardy and his team at H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, includes a 299-seat flexible theatre uniquely designed for the performance of Shakespeare and classic drama. Also in the new building will be Studio spaces of 50 and up to 99 seats for performance, rehearsal and events; a book kiosk, a lobby café and theatrical support spaces.
Last season, Theatre for a New Audience offered four acclaimed Off-Broadway productions: Notes from Underground, Cymbeline, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice. The latter starred F. Murray Abraham as Shylock, and was the Theatre's first production to have a national tour and receive wide acclaim across the country.
Theatre for a New Audience's new building will be its first home. For 32 years, Theatre for a New Audience has been renting or sharing space across Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The new home is located in the heart of Brooklyn's BAM Cultural District on Ashland Place between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street, and "is steps from the BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building and Harvey Theater, as well as the Mark Morris Dance Center." The City of New York is developing a public Arts Plaza, designed by landscape architect Ken Smith, "which will wrap around the front of the building and provide a welcoming spot for relaxation and recreation."
Read Jeffrey Horowitz's appreciation of the work of Julie Taymor, which appeared on Playbill.com in April.