MCC Theater broke ground this week on its first permanent home, which will unite the company’s diverse roster of programs under one roof for the first time in its three-decade history. MCC Artistic Directors Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, and William Cantler were joined by Executive Director Blake West, members of the Board of Directors, New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, and members of the Theater’s extended community of theater artists.
Set to open in 2018, the new facility will also allow MCC to expand its programming and establish it as a cultural anchor within the Clinton neighborhood. As one of New York’s leading nonprofit Off-Broadway companies, the institution fosters the dynamic exchange of ideas between artists, audiences, and young people through its productions of world, American, and New York premiere plays and musicals, a robust playwright development initiative, and one of the nation’s leading arts-education programs.
“We have developed a close-knit community of theater artists dedicated to new work and deep collaboration, and we’re so grateful to the playwrights, actors, designers, directors, audiences, and young people who have grown along with us over the past 30 years,” said Robert LuPone, co-artistic director of MCC Theater. “We are proud of what we’ve built, but we’ve been missing a home of our own in which this community can grow together and learn from one another—all under the same roof. We are so thrilled to break ground on a home that will help us do just this, and we look forward to welcoming our artists and audiences here in the years to come.”
Designed by Andrew Berman Architect to advance the company’s distinct mission, the 27,000-square-foot facility will act as a hub for all of MCC’s programming, allowing the institution to better serve its growing audiences and broaden its offerings—increasing its productions from four to six per season, supporting a greater roster of young writers, developing new work exploring a range of contemporary topics, and expanding its groundbreaking arts education programs for New York City public school students. The $35-million project is funded by a public-private partnership between the Theater and the City of New York, which has contributed $25.5 million to the project. The campaign has raised $29.9 million to-date.
“At the core of MCC’s mission is our commitment to using theater as a means of provoking conversations about this uniquely immediate and dynamic art form, and also about our contemporary daily lives and shared experiences. We strive to bring our audiences into these dialogues because we believe the theater-going experience should not be a passive one, but that the energy of a play should continue well beyond curtain call,” said MCC Co-Artistic Director Bernard Telsey. “We have worked closely with Andrew Berman to create a home that will foster these conversations, a center that energizes and connects all aspects of theater-making and theater-going.”
MCC Theater’s new home will serve as a generator for creative exchange, and has been designed to provide fluid connections between spaces dedicated to performance, behind-the-scenes development, and front-of-house—all of which will provide artists greater freedom for the company’s artists and provide audiences greater access and insight into all of MCC’s work.
The facility will feature two state-of-the-art theaters, with 249 and 99 seats, respectively, designed to accommodate both traditional and non-traditional stagings. Spaces for rehearsals, workshops, meetings, public conversations, and other events are integrated into the heart of the new home and connected to one another—and to the performance spaces—by a central staircase. A public lobby will invite connection between the outside courtyard space on 52 nd Street and the facility’s interior, and will be utilized by audiences, professional artists, and students alike. Raw materials are employed throughout, including concrete and warm woods, reflecting the process-based nature of theater-making to which the facility is dedicated.
Known for premiering plays and musicals that often challenge artists and audiences to confront contemporary personal and social issues, MCC has developed and produced works that have gone on to adaptations on Broadway and film, as well as additional stagings in New York, throughout the country, and internationally—amplifying the impact of the company’s work with some of theater’s most influential and provocative voices.