The Public Theater's $40 million revitalization of its downtown home at Astor Place will be unveiled October 4, 2012 and celebrated through a series of events designed to engage the entire New York community and marking a rededication to its founding principles. A physical expression of the Company's core mission of sparking dialogues, fostering artistic development and experimentation and increasing public accessibility, the revitalization project opens up the landmark building to the street and community, and transforms the lobby into a public piazza for artists, students and audiences.
The unveiling and rededication of The Public Theater at Astor Place caps off a milestone year for the Company that has included the 50th anniversary of its free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater and the expansion of its Mobile Unit, which brings Shakespeare to underserved audiences at prisons, homeless shelters, centers for the elderly and other community venues throughout the five boroughs.
"This beautiful revitalization links the stage and the street, making the building a living manifestation of our mission to create a dynamic, diverse and democratic culture," noted Oskar Eustis, The Public Theater's Artistic Director. "We want to invite the entire city to join us as we celebrate this milestone and begin our next chapter."
The rededication will be marked with eight weeks of events, many of which are free, celebrating the Company's past, looking to its future, and engaging New Yorkers with one of its democratic core values of sparking civic dialogues on important issues of the day. The Public Forum – the Company's celebrated new series of lectures, debates, and discussions – will mark the rededication with a special series of "Duet" programs, pairing an artist who has been important to the life of The Public and a leading voice from outside the world of theater, beginning with a conversation between Alec Baldwin and David Brooks on October 1. The eight weeks of events will also include a rededication ceremony; block party and open house; tours of the historic building on October 6 and 7 as part of the Open House New York program (www.ohny.org); an afternoon discussion with award-winning Public Theater graphic designer Paula Scher; and a series of Movie Nights celebrating The Public's legacy. A schedule of events follows below:
· Public Forum Duet: Alec Baldwin and David Brooks
Monday, Oct. 1
The Public Forum's series of Duet conversations begins with Alec Baldwin (Macbeth at The Public, Jack Donaghy on NBC's "30 Rock," host of the WNYC podcast Here's the Thing) trading views about American politics and culture with New York Times columnist David Brooks (author of The Social Animal, On Paradise Drive, and Bobos in Paradise). Single tickets, priced at $40, and Member tickets, priced at $35, are on sale now and may be purchased at 212-967-7555 (daily noon-8:00pm), www.publictheater.org, or by visiting The Public Theater Box Office, 425 Lafayette Street (Sun & Mon 1:00-6:00pm; Tue-Sat 1:00-7:30pm).
· Rededication Ceremony, October 4
Thursday, Oct. 4
Public Theater leadership, artists, and New York City officials join to rededicate The Public Theater at Astor Place; celebratory performances will be included. Free and open to the public. Space is limited; reservations required and may be made at www.publictheater.org.
· Introducing "Shakespeare Machine" by Ben Rubin
Wednesday, Oct. 10
Artist Ben Rubin's large-scale multimedia sculpture, Shakespeare Machine, features 37 LED display screens on which a series of "scenes" made up of text fragments from Shakespeare's 37 plays appear and dance, creating a kaleidoscope of language in motion. The work, which was commissioned through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs' Percent for Art program, will be suspended from the ceiling of the revitalized lobby and serve as the space's chandelier. The evening will include Shakespeare recitations as well as remarks from Patrick Willingham, Executive Director of The Public Theater, artist Ben Rubin and others. Free and open to the public. Space is limited; reservations required and may be made at www.publictheater.org.