By Robert Simonson
31 Oct 2013
The so-called "Mayor of Manhattan," Michael R. Bloomberg, has been spending a lot of time in Brooklyn lately.
Oct. 31, under cloudy skies and just a stone's throw from the East River, Bloomberg and other city and stage officials officially broke ground at the Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO's Brooklyn Bridge Park, the future home of the theatre organization St. Ann's Warehouse. Just last week, the Mayor was in nearby Fort Greene to dedicate the opening of the new home of Theatre for a New Audience.
"This is about the 100th dedication this fall," joked Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "We're packing them in in these final days." (Mayor Bloomberg will leave office Jan. 12, 2014, after 12 years in City Hall.)
As with Theatre for a New Audience's new Hugh Hardy-designed theatre, the Civil War-era Tobacco Warehouse, when complete, will represent St. Ann's first permanent home. The innovative company, known for its experimental works (it is currently hosting a praised all-female production of Julius Caesar) got its name from its first home, Church of St. Ann's and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights, where it performed for twenty years. Since 2001, it has been performing in DUMBO at 38 Water Street. That structure was demolished in 2012; since then, St. Ann's has worked out a temporary residence at 29 Jay Street.
The $27 million project, which is part of the riverside Brooklyn Bridge Park and sits just beside the eastern reaches of the Brooklyn Bridge, is expected to be completed in fall 2015. St. Ann's will receive $10 million from the City.
"We have reconnected with the natural beauty of the city," Bloomberg said of the theatre's location next to the park and river. "And we have reclaimed parts of our city's industrial past." The Mayor pointed out that the shell of the old brick, two-story warehouse had served as the location of many cultural events over the past few years. "It had so much potential as a permanent venue that we worked toward that."Continued...