Next Month, Set Changes at Three Cultural Venues

UntitledDaniel Maurer FAB Cafe

The new iteration of the Bowery Poetry Club isn’t the only recent change in the neighborhood’s cultural landscape. Shakeups are also in store for the homes of The Living Theatre, FAB Cafe, and Red Room.

Monday, at a meeting of Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee, Stephen Michael Rondel, founder of the New Acting Company, revealed plans to open a new cultural venue in the former home of The Living Theatre. The committee voted unanimously to support a bid for beer and wine at a concession stand operated by Tyler Maganzini, owner of the Black Mountain Winehouse and the Union Grounds in Brooklyn.

The new theater at 21 Clinton Street will be home of Celebration of Whimsy (COW), a children’s and community theater group associated with the New Acting Company. In addition to hosting theatrical productions (the back room will be turned into a rehearsal space), the venue will be open to the community for things like “meditation groups, doctors who want to make presentations, improv groups, one-man shows, one-woman shows,” Mr. Rondel told The Local.

UntitledDaniel Maurer Red Room’s home.

The New Acting Company was long located at 219 Sullivan Street until the Children’s Aid Society sold the building in 2011.

Meanwhile, after 15 years, The Red Room will close its doors at the end of the month. According to Heidi Grumelot, artistic director at Horse Trade Theater Group, the landlord of the building at 85 East Fourth Street decided not to renew the lease during a renegotiation and to re-purpose the third-floor space for his own use. It’s unclear what will replace Red Room.

The intimate 32-seat theater — “great because it’s not too much pressure for new artists,” said Ms. Grumelot — will be missed, but the loss may end up being a blessing. “Horse Trade is bursting at the seams anyway,” said Ms. Grumelot of the production company that also operates the Kraine Theater and UNDER St. Marks. “This offers us an opportunity to expand.” In the meantime, Red Room will host a number of free events through the end of the month.

Finally, the former home of FAB Cafe, which closed in December, will reopen April 1.

In collaboration with Made in the Lower East Side, the storefront at 75 East Fourth Street will now house a co-working space during the day, and will be rented out for readings and meetings during the evening, the allocation for both of which will be decided through applications. Along with pop-ups on weekends, the space can also be rented for non-permanent drop-in for as little as $40 a month. Overall, “the rates are going to be somewhat laughably low,” said Phoebe Stern, director of operations at FABnyc.