Bushwick Starr Gets $ 2.2 Million New Home


A permanent presence in the neighborhood is the next logical step for the experimental theater, puppet and dance space that has served as an incubator for the work of Tony-nominated playwright Jeremy O. Harris (“Slave Play”), and Daniel Fish, who directed the recent Broadway cover of “Oklahoma!” “

Kessler and Allain had rented the Starr Street loft, which they converted to a black box-style theater, since 2001, when he served their former experimental theater company Fovea Floods. “There was no money,” Allain told the New York Times in 2014, and the neighborhood “looked like a war zone”.

It was “desperate, adventurous and maybe a little naive,” Kessler added.

But Bushwick Starr – which opened several years before the area acquired its status as the next big event and its kombucha-on-tap bars – has become its home away from home. The metal front door, painted bricks, and wooden support columns were drab, but elegant – and oddly welcoming. In 2010-11, it was a bright spot on the Off Off Broadway map.

Now Kessler and Allain, who started working full time in the theater around 2012, can finally afford their own space. (Although Kessler says there are a few things he’ll miss about the Starr Street loft: the “glorious” views of the city and the hydroponic garden on the rooftop.)

The theater, which plans to operate on an annual budget of around $ 1.5 million, has announced a three-year $ 10 million fundraising campaign to raise funds to support the acquisition and renovation of the space. , as well as for extended programming. Allain said he has already pledged $ 6 million from the city, private foundations and individual donors, but relies on the campaign to raise the remaining $ 4 million.

In the meantime, Allain and Kessler have planned a full season of shows for 2021-2022, including four productions, all of which will be shown in other venues while the Eldert Street space is under construction.

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