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Staff Report

NEW YORK, 17 October 2006—In a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning featuring Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Harlem Stage inaugurated its new, 192-seat performance venue in The Gatehouse, a converted Romanesque Revival-style pumping station and relic of 19th-century New York’s extensive water system. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congressman Charles Rangel, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and other New York City politicians, officials and artists participated in the grand opening event.

The completion of The Gatehouse caps the successful completion of the first phase of a $26-million capital campaign. Located at 150 Convent Avenue and West 135th Street in Manhattan, across from Aaron Davis Hall, The Gatehouse is the first new performance space built in Harlem in more than 20 years. Rolf Ohlhausen and Ohlhausen DuBois Architects, in partnership with Wank Adams Slavin Associates Architects and Engineers, transformed The Gatehouse into the state-of-the art performance venue with theater, rehearsal and office spaces. Originally a pumping station used to distribute water from the Croton Aqueduct in Westchester County to New York City, the  Gatehouse was designed by Frederick S. Cook  and built between 1884 and 1890. Vacant since 1984, the landmark building is now under the jurisdiction of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rendering of exterior during day
Photo courtesy of Ohlhausen Dubois Architects

For the premiere season of The Gatehouse, a series of site-specific theater, dance and music performances was specially commissioned for the venue. Entitled WaterWorks the season includes:

— Roger Guenveur Smith’s Who Killed Bob Marley?, 24 - 28 October 2006

— Sekou Sundiata’s Days of Art and Ideas, 3 - 4 November 2006 (presented in  conjunction with Sundiata’s New York premiere of the 51st (dream) state at BAM
— Tania LeĂłn’s Reflections, 14 - 18 November 2006

— Bill T. Jones’ Chapel/Chapter, 5 - 9 December 2006

 Established in 1979 as part of The City College of New York, Harlem Stage became an inde­pendent non-profit in 1982. Highlights of the organization’s history include a 1990 Town Hall meeting with the newly released Nelson Mandela conducted by Ted Koppel and Nightline at the arts center; Danny Glover’s 1996 presentation of his Romeo and Juliet; and tributes to Frank Foster in 1995. In 1997 the Hall inaugurated the Harlem Renaissance Award honoring Harry Belafonte that year, Nancy Wilson in 2000 and Maya Angelou in 2001, which brought renowned artists including Bill Cosby, Tony Bennett, Abbey Lincoln, Quincy Jones, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Cassandra Wilson, Bill T. Jones and many others to the hall.

Harlem Stage Web Site

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