HERE, IndieSpace, New Ohio, And Rattlestick Form Rehearsal Co-Op

The space will be home to a diverse membership of theater artists and companies, and will leave a lasting imprint on the neighborhood's arts scene.

By: Jan. 03, 2023
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HERE, IndieSpace, New Ohio, And Rattlestick Form Rehearsal Co-Op

In an unprecedented collaboration, HERE, IndieSpace, New Ohio and Rattlestick have formed the West Village Rehearsal Co-Op located at 60-74 Gansevoort Street New York, NY 10014 in partnership with Community Board #2 (CB2), Aurora Capital Associates, and William Gottlieb Real Estate.

The space will be home to a diverse membership of theater artists and companies, and will leave a lasting imprint on the neighborhood's arts scene. With their 99-year lease, West Village Rehearsal Co-op ensures that the location is secured for cultural use for the next generation and beyond.

"We are beyond thrilled to announce the opening of the West Village Rehearsal Co-Op as we know low cost and permanent cultural space will be critical to New York's economic recovery," said Randi Berry, Executive Director of IndieSpace, an organization established to disrupt the ongoing displacement of small theaters and to create a new model for equitable funding for the indie theater community.

"This space was created through true collaboration between the Community Board, the development team and the artists living and working in this neighborhood," said Robert Lyons of New Ohio Theatre, a home for indie theatre artists for almost 30 years.

"This project will ensure that artists can continue to create and provide the vibrancy that is why many people choose to live in New York City," said Kristin Marting of HERE, one of New York's most prolific arts organizations for nearly 30 years supporting artists and audiences as a producer, presenter and venue in lower Manhattan.

"The initiative is a demonstration of innovative collaborative community-building and is a model that we hope will be adopted by others," said Daniella Topol of Ratllestick, a 28-year old West Village theater dedicated to producing provocative works that respond to the complexity of our culture in collaboration with community partners.

Join West Village Rehearsal Co-op on Tuesday, January 24 at 11:30am as they cut the ribbon for, and welcome the public into, their 99-year rehearsal space. The founding organizations will be joined by speakers from the Community Board, Aurora Capital Associates, William Gottlieb Real Estate, and City Council.

The fully ADA-compliant studio is 1,500 square feet with a kitchen and an area to rehearse. The co-op will play a vital role in reviving the New York theater community by providing a new resource for affordable and high-quality rental space after the pandemic forced the closure of many rehearsal studios, leaving a shortage of spaces for artists to do their work. Not only will the new space provide necessary support to artists in the West Village but it will also create a blueprint for the development of similar studios throughout the city.

For six months each year, the space will be available exclusively to artists working with the three CB2-based producing institutions. For the other six months, the space will be available at a subsidized rate of no more than $10 per hour for IndieSpace artists. For resident companies like The Grove (a collective of Black playwrights and artists) and other Black and Indigenous companies, IndieSpace will provide the studio for free. This co-op model will allow the studio to serve not only local theater companies, but to also expand to other individual artists and small organizations in the West Village and surrounding neighborhoods.

West Village Rehearsal Co-op would like to thank Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest for their essential assistance with lease negotiations.

Since 1993, HERE has been one of New York's most prolific arts organizations. Today, it stands at the forefront of the city's cultural scene, producing and presenting daring, new, multidisciplinary performance experiences. From our home in Lower Manhattan, HERE builds an inclusive community that nurtures artists of all backgrounds as they disrupt conventional expectations to create innovative performances in theater, dance, music, puppetry, media, and visual art. By providing these genre-blending artists with an adaptive, flexible home for developing and producing their work, we share a range of perspectives reflective of the complexity of our city. HERE welcomes curious audiences to witness groundbreaking performances, responsive to the world in which we live, at free and affordable prices.

IndieSpace was established in 2016 to disrupt the ongoing displacement of small theaters and to address systemic inequities in NYC real estate. In 2022, it merged with Indie Theater Fund, an organization focused on a new model for equitable funding for the indie theater community. By contributing a nickel per ticket from their shows to a pot of money for funding, the indie theater community could create a method of self-sustainability and could rethink philanthropy and the process of grant making. Through radically transparent and equitable grants, community resources and advocacy, the Fund supported hundreds of indie theater companies and thousands of individual artists.

Since its founding, IndieSpace has: consulted with 70+ venues making real estate decisions, including The Tank, FRIGID New York, The Chain, The Wild Project, Wooster Group, and Classical Theater of Harlem; helped 18 organizations sign new leases; saved seven theaters from being closed or repurposed; created four real estate operation partnerships; walked one venue through the purchase of their new home. During Covid, IndieSpace supported over 50 venues navigating their leases by helping them stay open, and also provided over $1.5M in relief grants to the indie theater community. For service to the community, IndieSpace received the Ellen Stewart Award and a citation from the City Council of New York.

New Ohio Theatre develops and presents the boldest and most innovative work from NYC's diverse independent theatre community, actively expanding the boundaries of what theatre is, how it's made, and who makes it. With a 28 year history and two Obie Awards for Sustained Excellence for developing and presenting new work, we have established ourselves as a pillar of the downtown independent theatre community. We are known for our eclectic, expansive sensibilities, our artist-centric philosophy, and for creating an environment of generosity and open access. We believe the best of NYC's diverse indie theatre community-the small, inspired, artist-driven ensembles and the daring producing companies who operate without a permanent theatrical home-are actively and aggressively expanding the boundaries of the American theatre. We also recognize structural inequalities exist and can deny individuals access to opportunities due to race, gender, disability, age, class, and sexual orientation, and we work to counter these inequalities. We nurture, strengthen, and promote this community of independent theatre artists for NYC's most adventurous theater audiences.

Founded in 1994 by David Van Asselt and Gary Bonasorte, Rattlestick Theater has been steadfast in producing diverse, challenging, and provocative plays while fostering the future voices of the American theater. Now in its 29th year, the company is focused on energetic theater that responds to the complexities of our culture in conversation with community partners. From its historic West Village theater, Rattlestick has produced the first plays and early works of some of today's leading voices, including Martyna Majok (Ironbound), Diana Oh (mylingerieplay), and Heidi Schreck (There Are No More Big Secrets). They are proud to make Rattlestick a place where some of our nation's most celebrated playwrights feel safe to test their boldest ideas, including Dael Orlandersmith (Until the Flood), José Rivera (Massacre, Sing to Your Children), and Sam Hunter (Lewiston/Clarkston, nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play). Recently, Rattlestick received several prestigious grants allowing us to commission new work from writers such as Cusi Cram, Mahira Kakkar, Stacey Rose, Arturo Luís Soria, Liba Vaynberg, and Rhianna Yazzie. Rattlestick is the home of the Van Lier New Voices playwriting fellowship and the Terrence McNally Incubator Program, as well as the Global Gab and Global Forms programs providing support to immigrant artists.



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