The Rockwell Group and TAIT Partner to Create Pop-Up Theaters to Help Struggling Arts and Performance Groups

TAIT is using equipment from its vast, reconfigurable staging inventory to create unique, quick-deploying staging systems. 

By: Mar. 01, 2021

The Rockwell Group and TAIT Partner to Create Pop-Up Theaters to Help Struggling Arts and Performance Groups

David Rockwell and his architecture and design firm Rockwell Group have joined forces with TAIT, a global leader in the design and construction of solutions for live events, to create OpenStage NYC, a new initiative that utilizes portable staging, to help arts organizations move to outdoor performances this spring.

Last year, Rockwell Group launched DineOutNYC to advocate for public space for restaurants for outdoor dining. Working with the New York City Hospitality Alliance and the NYC Department of Transportation, Rockwell also identified public spaces, sidewalks and streets, in all five boroughs and designed and built outdoor dining experiences for individual restaurants and communal dining. OpenStage NYC builds on that initiative, in partnership with TAIT, to support art and performance groups impacted by COVID-19 and to provide safe entertainment opportunities for New Yorkers as warm weather returns. As with DineOutNYC, the effort is pro-bono.

TAIT is using equipment from its vast, reconfigurable staging inventory to create unique, quick-deploying staging systems. The package also includes a partial overhead truss, stage lighting, and audio equipment. Additionally, productionglue, headquartered in NYC, is TAIT's producing arm and playing the key role of execution partner for this exciting endeavor.

Rockwell Group's theater architects have also created design footprints to accommodate the staging for outdoor production facilities and allow for 50-person audiences socially distanced. It is expected that the performance stages will utilize streets, plazas, and other public spaces identified as part of the Open Culture program as well as other public performance programs in New York City.

To program the stages, Rockwell Group and TAIT have partnered with arts organizations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens - Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!), BRIC, and the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC) - to help arts organizations in those boroughs. These organizations can book performances in the same or multiple locations within the borough. All revenues generated by performances utilizing the stages will go to the arts organizations involved. For more information on how to use and reserve the stages, visit BAAD! and LPAC. To learn more about BRIC please visit

LPAC will use the space behind the theaters for programming and plans to work with other Queens-based artists and organizations to tour the borough of Queens and provide live entertainment to people who have not had an opportunity to see live theatre, dance, or music for a very long time, or for the first time.

BAAD!'s programming will take place on its property in the Bronx and will kick-off with Boogie Down Dance Series performances in mid-April through May, followed by the Out Like That Festival in June. Additional programming through October 2021 to be announced in the coming months.

BRIC has a number of programs planned for OpenStage NYC in Brooklyn, working with various local arts organizations to bring the stage to as many neighborhoods as possible, beginning this May.

David Rockwell, Tony Award®-winning set designer for many Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including She Loves Me, Hairspray, Kinky Boots, and The Normal Heart, said, "As we saw with outdoor dining last year, we need to utilize public space - to really reclaim this space - in a way that contributes to the vitality of the city while helping the creative community that was so devastatingly impacted by the pandemic. We're hopeful that OpenStage NYC will provide a safe, entertainment destination for New Yorkers and offer creative and economic opportunities for actors, dancers, and arts groups. We also hope to raise additional funds to create more stages and with them more opportunity for the arts and entertainment community."

TAIT's Brian Levine, President, Projects said, "The last year has had a huge impact on our industry, and we're thrilled to support the arts in bringing live entertainment back to New Yorkers. Our expertise lends itself to this quick-to-deploy endeavor and we're proud to put the inventory to work in this unique way, supporting Rockwell Group's vision."

TAIT's President/CEO James "Winky" Fairorth said, "We're honored to work with Rockwell Group to bring venues to the arts community and support their mission by way of outdoor performance spaces. We all need to experience the joy of the performing arts community, now more than ever."

"Although physical distancing has become the new normal, the power and effect of art has no boundaries. The OpenStage NYC initiative will not only allow for the gathering of audiences safely to experience art and culture again in fellowship but provide a vital platform for visibility to the communities of artists comprised of women, POCs and the LGBTQ+ showcasing the breadth of talent in the Bronx," said Marcus Gualberto, Deputy Director, BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.

"Open Stage NYC will provide much-needed resources and space for performing artists to get back to work and for communities to reconnect with each other. BRIC is thrilled to be included in this initiative which reinforces the pivotal role that creativity and innovation will play in the recovery," said Kristina Newman-Scott, President of BRIC. "We look forward to working with Rockwell Group and TAIT as well as other organizations across the borough of Brooklyn to bring this to life."

"LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC) is excited to be a part of Open Culture and thanks to our own City Council Member, Jimmy Van Bramer, for writing this bill and helping bring culture to the streets of Queens, and around the City," said Steven Hitt, Artistic Producing Director, LPAC. "We are so thankful to Rockwell Group and TAIT for developing this idea and including LPAC in the venture."

Rendering Credit: Rockwell Group