The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York celebrated the official opening of two new performances spaces located at 502 West 53rd Street in Manhattan on January 18. Several years in the making, the new theatres will provide much-needed space to a rotating roster of Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway companies including NAATCO, New Georges, Ma-Yi Theater Company, The Civilians, Pipeline Theatre Company, and more.
“We’re going to be here for the next 90 years,” Tony winner Billy Porter, who hosted the ribbon-cutting event for A.R.T/New York, told the crowd. “Off-Broadway is really special to me because it’s where I started my career almost 30 years ago—my first show was at the Public Theater… It was really important for me. It launched me into the New York scene and I’m forever grateful for that.”
“A.R.T helps non-profit theatre companies afford space,” he continued. “It’s so exciting and thrilling that these new state-of-the-art theatres are now accessible.” Off-Broadway has also helped launch Porter’s playwriting career; his drama While I Yet Live was produced Off-Broadway in 2014 by Primary Stages.
Rent star and A.R.T/New York Board member Daphne Rubin-Vega was also in attendance at the opening ceremony. “Most actors who perform on Broadway have taken a journey to get there. A journey that sometimes begins in church basements, theatres without air conditioning and sometimes, very small stages,” she told the crowd. “A.R.T/New York had a dream to provide their members with beautiful, state-of-the-art theatres that are on par with our Off-Broadway companies and as I look around me, I have to say: ‘Wow. I cannot wait to appear on these stages.’”
Scroll through photos of the ribbon-cutting below: