Wrapping up our celebration of the New Vic's new, vibrant lobby spaces, we sat down with our Executive Vice President, Lisa Post. She shares with us the past, present and future of our lobby spaces!
The mission of The New 42nd Street is to make "extraordinary performing arts and cultural engagement part of everyone's life" through our work at The New Victory Theater, The Duke on 42nd Street theater, The New 42nd Street Studios and through our partnership with New York City and New York State in the transformation of this historic bxlock. At the New Victory we are certainly fulfilling the "extraordinary performing arts" part of the mission, having now brought amazing shows and incredible artists from around the world to The New Victory stage for more than two decades. As for the "cultural engagement" part—at least in terms of the public—our engagement has been limited to family workshops and the modest activities we could manage in lobbies designed twenty-two years ago.
Ever wonder why our lobbies are below ground? When we first opened The New Victory Theater, we had to create a lobby space that wasn't there before! In the original structure built by Oscar Hammerstein I, the seats went nearly to the street so we shortened the orchestra depth to create a street level lobby and box office, and dug down below to create more space. At the time of the 1995 renovation, the idea of a theater for families and kids on 42nd Street was untested, so a decision was made to keep this space generic and not tailored for any age. For so long, our lobbies have been bland, uninformed and disconnected from the spirit and vibrancy of the work presented on stage.
So, in 2015, when we decided that a renovation was in order, we also decided that remodeling couldn't just be about carpets and paint and water-saving bathroom fixtures. Renovating the New Victory lobbies had to, for us, be a reinvention, something that would extend and a deepen our mission now that the New Vic has been established as an essential part of New York City's cultural fabric. We wanted the new lobbies to not just house our patrons, but to delight and excite them. These spaces couldn't just be serviceable, they had to sing like the artists on the stage. So, while we did install those water-saving fixtures, we also worked with our architects and consultants to create an environment that encourages families to engage with the work on the New Victory stage. (In case you missed it, read Lindsey's blog
about the thought behind our arts engagement activities!)
We're so glad to see the lobby working the way we hoped it would. As with any planning process, especially over a two-year period, we had some anxiety that all the decisions we made were in an echo chamber. The looming question was...will this work? And...it has! It's been such a joy to see kids and families use the space in the way we hoped, eating and relaxing in our space and generally having a great time.
LuEsther's Lobby and Jack & Lew's Lobby are spaces where families can joyfully interact with each other—play together, eat together and talk to each other—but also meet other families, too. Our goal has been to make every part of coming to see a show at The New Victory an opportunity to engage and participate in both creativity and community—to make The New Victory feel like every family's cultural home. Here's looking to the future and all that is possible!
||In Bromance, the astonishing talent of these three mates from London will make a hopeless bromantic out of you. Get your tickets today!