Downtown NYC's Flea Theater Buys Permanent Home

News   Downtown NYC's Flea Theater Buys Permanent Home
The Flea Theater, the Off-Off-Broadway company located in downtown Manhattan and known for staging the 9/11 play The Guys, among other works, now has a permanent home, the New York Times reported.

The company purchased a two-story office building at 20 Thomas Street in late 2009, and owns it outright, artistic director Jim Simpson told the paper. The purchase price was $5.3 million.

The goal of Simpson, the Flea's producing director Carol Ostrow, and their board was to put down roots and build equity. Any not-for-profit theatre company that is merely renting lacks permanence in changing times.

A capital campaign is in progress to create performance spaces within the building, according to the report. The venue has 5,600 square feet. The building was purchased in 2009, but the news is only coming to light now (although the purchase had been previously reported in business trade papers). The plan was to announce the purchase and the renovation capital campaign at the same time, at a later date, but the Times apparently sniffed out the story.

A spokesman told that a fuller announcement will come in the future. No timetable for a move was reported.

The Flea, founded in 1996, currently operates in rented digs — housing a 75-seat theatre and a 40-seat theatre — at 41 White Street. The Flea produces its own work and rents out its venues. This month, the 1st Irish 2010 Festival will stage the world premiere of The Prophet of Monto, a comic drama of love, lust and lost dreams by Dublin playwright John Paul Murphy, Sept. 8-25.

The Flea will produce the world premiere of A.R. Gurney's Office Hours, which takes a look at the political climate across U.S. colleges in the 1970s, Sept. 18-Oct. 24.

Gurney, whose play The Grand Manner was presented at Lincoln Center Theater earlier this summer, penned Office Hours for the Flea's resident acting company, The Bats. According to Gurney, "The play is designed to display the talents, energy, and versatility of these young actors."

Simpson will direct the work, which will feature two rotating casts.


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