Help Theater for the New City Pay Off Its Mortgage

Philip Kalantzis-Cope The Theater for the New City at 155 First Avenue.

The Theater For The New City is in the final stages of a 24-year fundraising drive to pay off its debt.

In 1986 the theater’s mortgage was $717,000. Now, it’s down to $90,000, and administrators are orchestrating a big push to ensure its political, avant garde and always-colorful productions continue at the location on First Avenue.

“Our building, our permanent home, is the basis of our ability to produce new art,” said Crystal Field, the theater’s executive director in a press release. “The economic difficulties coming our way, indeed, to the whole of the art world, will best be met by a strong foundation.”

Theater for the New CityLiv Buli A street production by The Theater for the New City.

Depending on the sum of the donation, theater buffs can have their name etched on a plaque in the lobby or a chair in one of the auditoriums. A donation of $1,000 gets a season pass.

But it’s not just out-there productions like “Attica,” a retelling of the prison uprising through puppets, and “Man of Flesh and Cardboard,” an examination of the alleged Wiki-Leaker Bradley Manning, also told through puppets, that give the theater its reputation. Its Arts-in-Education after-school program has nurtured young stilt walkers and jugglers since the late 1990s, and administrators hope to expand it in the coming years.

Still, Ms. Field admitted that there will likely be more struggles on the horizon for the scrappy theater. “Theater For The New City has never had an easy road to travel,” she said. “Struggle is our middle name.”