Renowned Performing Arts Organization Activates Former Tobacco Warehouse With Innovative Productions, World-Class Artists
St. Ann’s Warehouse — which for 36 years has enlivened New Yorkers with new works by the world’s most vital music- and theater-makers — is about to open its first permanent home, a 25,000-square-foot theater at the breathtaking site of the Tobacco Warehouse, on the waterfront in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The organization will inaugurate its new building by presenting a 2015-16 season that epitomizes St. Ann’s indispensable contribution to the global cultural landscape — a series of international productions in which world-class artists reconfigure flexible, open space to realize their creative visions.
“It was the journey of a lifetime to discover the serendipity and joy of theatricalizing the hallowed Church on Montague Street and two vast warehouses in DUMBO with some of the greatest companies and artists of at least two generations,” said St. Ann’s Warehouse Founder and Artistic Director Susan Feldman. “It is quite another to attempt to create such a space from scratch, while respecting the revered walls of an iconic shell. With skill and care, the St. Ann’s Board and team of architects, consultants, managers and artisans have absorbed and recreated what went into the happenstance of all those years and places, bringing us to this inaugural season.”
The St. Ann’s Warehouse 2015-16 Inaugural Season begins with the Donmar Warehouse’s celebrated production of “Henry IV” (Nov. 6 to Dec. 6), the second with St. Ann’s in director Phyllida Lloyd’s trilogy of all-female Shakespeares, set against the backdrop of women in prison. Like the first production in the series, Julius Caesar, whose American Premiere was a major hit of St. Ann’s 2013-14 season, Lloyd’s “fresh, bracingly persuasive staging” (The Independent) of “Henry IV” is led by the great Harriet Walter. St. Ann’s will again present the Donmar’s exceptional educational programs to New York City public school students and at-risk youth.
Following Carmina Slovenica’s critically lauded “Toxic Psalms” this past year, St. Ann’s Warehouse will rejoin forces with the PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now festival, this time to present the American Premiere of frequent St. Ann’s collaborator Enda Walsh’s first opera, “The Last Hotel,” which Walsh is creating with leading Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy.
This look at assisted suicide and the marketplace also reunites St. Ann’s with Landmark Productions, with which St. Ann’s presented “Walsh’s Misterman,” starring Cillian Murphy, in 2011. Ireland’s groundbreaking Wide Open Opera Company co-produces the opera with Landmark. Performances will take place Jan. 8 to 17, 2016.
The weekend of Jan. 28 to 31, 2016, St. Ann’s will transform its new theater yet again for the LABAPALOOZA! festival of works-in-progress from the Puppet Lab, a year-long, experimental haven St. Ann’s provides for artists developing new projects for puppet theater. The Jim Henson Foundation has been supporting the Lab since shortly after its inception in 1998.
In February, St. Ann’s will welcome back the esteemed Mark Rylance with the New York Premiere of “Nice Fish,” a new play conceived and written by the Tony- and Olivier Award-winning Rylance and poet Louis Jenkins, adapted from Jenkins’ book of poems about ice fishing in Minnesota.
They began the project at the Guthrie Theater two years ago. St. Ann’s will present the new American Repertory Theater production from Feb. 14 to March 13, 2016. Starring Mark Rylance on stage and directed by composer Claire van Kampen, “Nice Fish” marks the first return of these lovely artists to St. Ann’s since Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre production of Measure for Measure in 2005.
St. Ann’s Warehouse will further showcase the versatility of the new theater with its American Premiere presentation of the Young Vic’s immensely acclaimed, modern-day production of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Arguably, St. Ann’s Warehouse is the only New York theater capable of staging this inspired production, directed by Benedict Andrews, with an explosive cast led by Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster that also features Vanessa Kirby as Stella. With its transparent, revolving set, surrounded by audiences on all four sides, all conversations are overheard, there’s nowhere to hide and the ensuing tragedy purposefully spins toward its inevitable last line.
In one of many five-star reviews, Charles Spencer wrote in The Daily Telegraph, “Never have I seen a production of the play that was so raw in its emotion, so violent and so deeply upsetting.” St. Ann’s presents the American Premiere of this first collaboration with the Young Vic, April 23 to May 22, 2016.
One of the exciting aspects of having the new St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park is the organization’s ability to operate year round and out of doors. To complete this “sampler” first season, St. Ann’s has invited the international contemporary circus NoFit State to construct its spaceship-shaped tent under the Brooklyn Bridge. The company will make its North American debut with “Bianco,” a performance that weaves live music, dance, design and theater to create poetic and poignant images of prowess and daring. NoFit State brings their signature style of human balance and counter balance in an ever evolving and constantly changing landscape of ensemble action, moving trusses, steel towers and audiences. St. Ann’s will present Bianco in residence from May 3 to 29, 2016.