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Bay Street Announces Plans for New Sag Harbor Facility

Plans include multiple venues as well as dedicated spaces for the company’s education and new-work development programs.

SAG HARBOR, N.Y.: The Bay Street Theater has announced that it will build its first purpose-built home, featuring multiple theatres, spaces for new-work development, education facilities, outdoor performance spaces, and public spaces. The facility will be built at the entrance to historic Sag Harbor, which runs continuously with John Steinbeck Waterfront Park, creating a community resource on a site that currently houses a small strip mall and is near the theatre’s current home.

“The creation of a permanent home for Bay Street has long been a goal for all of us at the organization, and I’m thrilled that, along with the Friends of Bay Street, we are able to build upon the work of our visionary founders Sybil Christopher, Emma Walton Hamilton, and Stephen Hamilton, to make that dream a reality,” said Tracy Mitchell, executive director of Bay Street Theater, in a statement. “I’m incredibly grateful to Bay Street Theater’s chairman, Steven Todrys, and the entire board of trustees for their support and leadership at this incredible juncture as we enhance the artistic contributions we make to the field and the home we provide to our wonderful community.”

For this project, Friends of Bay Street & Sag Harbor Redevelopment, a separate nonprofit organization, was created to oversee the land acquisition, financing, fundraising, design, and overall site development. The building of this facility expands Bay Street’s home for local and visiting artists while also responding to the increasing call for the cultural, educational, and economic resources the company provides to the community and region. In pursuit of this, the Friends of Bay Street leadership is working with the owners of the small businesses currently located in the strip mall/future Bay Street facility to help them relocate to new sites in town.

“Sag Harbor has long been an artistically vibrant and diverse community, and a home to actors, playwrights, and artists who we look forward to welcoming to our new purpose-built space,” said Scott Schwartz, artistic director of Bay Street Theater, in a statement. “The past decade has been a time of momentous growth for the theatre, as we’ve welcomed award-winning performers, directors, and designers to our stage and mounted acclaimed productions of new works by writers including Alena Smith, Jonathan Tolins, Jules Feiffer, and Andrew Lippa; and important modern plays and musicals, such as Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel; Grey Gardens, which is set in our community; and Michael Arden’s revolutionary production of My Fair Lady. Our new home will greatly increase our ability to continue to present a world-class experience for our artists, audiences, and students while providing a new community gathering place for generations to come.”

Friends of Bay Street currently plan to break ground in mid-2021, with completion anticipated in 2023. The facility will include multiple theatres, including a mainstage theatre aimed at retaining the original venue’s level of intimacy as well as fixed and flexible spaces designed to accommodate various artistic visions and production needs. The facility’s flexibility will allow Bay Street to offer even more original works, co-productions, and partnerships. More details about the facilities and its features, along with the architect for the new building, will be announced in the coming months.

“Today is a foundational next step in the history and ongoing trajectory of Bay Street Theater as well as for the Sag Harbor community,” said Adam Potter, Friends of Bay Street founder and chairman, in a statement. “The location of the new complex will offer residents and visitors access to the revitalized waterfront and even more space for productions and community offerings, expanding the theatre as a hub for engagement and creativity. Not only is the project an investment in the future of both Sag Harbor and nonprofit theatre, it allows Bay Street Theater to expand its role as a major cultural, civic, and economic resource in the region.”

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