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Playwrights Horizons Completes Renovation of '440 Studios' Rehearsal Complex

Playwrights Horizons announces completion of a major renovation to 440 Studios, which is Lower Manhattan's largest rehearsal space complex (located at 440 Lafayette Street). The $1.2 million project took 8 months for demolition and renovation.

440 Studios is the third and fourth floors of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School. When not in use by the School for classes, workshops and productions, the rehearsal studios and theaters are rented out to hundreds of New York City cultural groups each year. The School and the studios are an integral part of Playwrights Horizons and perform a vital service for students, the theater community and the surrounding neighborhood. The renovation of the third floor was made possible, in large part, through generous capital funding from New York City and New York State.

Playwrights Horizons took occupancy of the third and fourth floor at 440 Lafayette Street in 1993; the previous tenant had made few changes to the third floor during their 20-year occupancy. The renovations to the third floor, which were overseen by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), included soundproofing, replacing walls and flooring, widening the hallways and improving the floor layout, adding new storage space, creation of a lobby and box office for the theater space, lighting upgrades, electrical work, and installation of a new HVAC system.

These improvements constitute a gut renovation and have vastly improved the facility.
The new space includes eight rehearsal studios and a 68-seat theater. (The fourth floor, which didn't require renovation, features an additional nine rehearsal spaces.) Formerly the Linhart Theater, the theater has been renamed the Robert Moss Theater in honor of the founder of Playwrights Horizons. Bob Moss founded the award-winning theater company in 1971 and was Artistic Director from 1971 to 1980. He was the Director of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School from 1990 to 1996.

Renters at 440 Studios include: BAM, Blue Man Group, Classic Stage Company, Culture Project, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Flea Theatre, Fresh Fruit Festival, fringeNYC, Hartford Stage, HERE Arts Center, Howl Festival, Jean Cocteau Repertory, LAByrinth Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Moises Kaufman/Tectonic Theater Project, Naked Angels, Noche Flamenca, New York Theatre Workshop, Pig Iron, Public Theater, Tribeca Arts Festival, Upright Citizens Brigade and Vineyard Theatre.

"Playwrights Horizons and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School are extremely grateful to the City and State of New York for their support of this important project," said Leslie Marcus, Managing Director of Playwrights Horizons. "We accomplished what seems to be nearly impossible in construction these days - completing a project on time and under budget! We're also thrilled to be able to name the new Robert Moss Theater after the visionary who gave birth to Playwrights Horizons and was such an integral part of the growth of the Theater School."

"The completion of this amazing project obviously means a great deal to the school, as it means a state-of-the-art facility for all our students," said Helen R. Cook, Director of Playwrights Horizons Theater School. "But it's also a boon to the downtown not-for-profit world to have a first-class space to create, rehearse and present work. We're looking forward to having many friends back who were displaced during the 8 months of construction."

"Playwright Horizons has played an integral role in supporting not only hundreds of playwrights but the theatrical community as a whole," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "I am proud that the City played an important role in their ability to improve this facility, and I congratulate them on the completion of this project."

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