NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Row, a six-theatre complex located on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, has announced the Off-Off-Broadway companies that will be making work at its spaces, as part of the complex’s new Kitchen Sink Residency. The two-year program will give the companies space to develop new work, culminating in a three-week production run. The companies are the Assembly, Broken Box Mime Theater, LubDub Theatre Company, Noor Theatre, and Superhero Clubhouse.
The project is shepherded by Sarah Hughes, Theatre Row’s director of artistic programming, and Stephanie Rolland, Theatre Row’s director of theatre operations. Hughes and Rolland both joined the Theatre Row team this year, Hughes after more than a decade of working in downtown theatre.
“Most theatre companies that I’ve worked with don’t have a consistent home,” she explains. “This can really be a challenge, especially when a company has an extended development process. Without a home, these companies struggle to piece together the right patchwork of production opportunities, residencies, grants, and rehearsal space rentals—just to make a single project happen.”
Hughes is right. As rents in NYC have risen, many small theatre venues have been forced to close their doors, though there are more theatre artists than ever. Because of space constraints, and lack of the funds, the work that they want to do can take years to create, as they try to squeeze it in between day jobs. “There are so many companies out there who have been making incredible work for a long time with little to no resources—and these artists are the lifeblood of the most thrilling, challenging, important work happening in New York,” says Hughes.
Theatre Row, which rents out its spaces and also programs work from 10 Off-Broadway theatres in residence, has venues raging from 50 seats to 199 seats. The Kitchen Sink Residency was designed for companies with annual operating budgets of under $200,000 and 5 to 15 years worth of production history. The residency will provide the companies with rehearsal time, stipends, and producing and marketing assistance. The first year will include the five-week Kitchen Sink Festival (July-August 2020), which will feature workshop showings of each company’s work. The second year will guarantee each company a three-week production of its work (timed for spring and summer 2021). In 2021, Theatre Row will take applications for a new round of resident companies.
These new residents will be working on a range of projects, including a play with music about a mammoth-elephant hybrid (Mammelephant by Superhero Clubhouse) and a series of short-form pieces about human communication (Capacity from Broken Box Mime Theater).
Theatre Row has primarily produced work by Off-Broadway companies, but with this new residency Hughes wants to focus on younger, smaller New York outfits. “These companies—and their audiences—might not have thought that Theatre Row was ‘for them,’ and the creation of the residency program is an effort toward making Theatre Row a place for everybody.”
Theatre Row is a program of nonprofit Building for the Arts NY, Inc.