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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

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!
Lisa Post
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. 

Ribbon Cutting

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!)

New Lobby

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!

 
 
Bromance Thumb In Bromance, the astonishing talent of these three mates from London will make a hopeless bromantic out of you. Get your tickets today!

 
Posted by Beth Henderson

Travelling all the way from London, Bromance is an adrenaline-fueled circus show by the Barely Methodical Troupe, where handshakes become handstands and backslaps become backflips. Get to know the creators of Bromance—Charlie, Beren and Louis—as they share how they first discovered circus, what happens when a show goes awry and what "Love of Theater" means to them. 
 


Map of LondonWhere are you guys from from? 

Charlie Wheeller: Southampton, England, but I'm living in East London now.

Beren D'Amico: I'm from South London. The others look down on my neighborhood, but they're just naive about the vibrancy and character of the South!

Louis Gift: I grew up in Islington, in North London. It's way nicer than South London.

 

Charlie Charlie Wheeller
How did you first get involved in circus?

CW: When I was growing up, I loved getting involved in the local theater groups, including one that my dad ran. I was also a physical kid, who loved playing football, breakdancing and even gymnastics. When I was looking at universities, I applied to the National Centre For Circus Arts in London. There, I met the Cyr wheel and I haven't stopped spinning since.

LG: I had always been into flips and acrobatics ever since watching Power Rangers on Saturday mornings as a kid. I specialize in hand-to-hand acrobatics as a base, but all of us make a conscious effort to train in complementary disciplines. This helps keep the creative juices flowing and is also nice for a bit of a change up.

BD: I had a love for all things physical from the get go, since my parents toured with the legendary French circus company Archaos. I found tricking and fell in love. Eventually, I decided circus school made the most sense for me and trained in hand-to-hand as a flyer.

What was your most memorable onstage experience?

 

Beren Beren D'Amico
LG: Opening our second show, Kin, at The Roundhouse was particularly special to me. That venue is close to where I've lived for most of my life and it's also where I saw one of my very first circus shows. Standing backstage and hearing the cheers and support from the crowd as we ran on to start was a moment I'll never forget!

BD: Mine happened at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival during the 'Politicians' act in Bromance. We move and manipulate chairs, whilst sitting and standing. During one performance, a stray Cyr wheel smashed one of the chairs to pieces (thanks, Charlie.) We had to completely improvise. It was terrifying.
 
CW: It worked so well! We even talked about permanently adding it into the show.

What's the most daring trick you've tried?

CW: The craziest trick I've performed is a double somersault with an open out in the middle, back to the teeterboard. We've just started throwing flips from the teeterboard to human pyramids. That's where the risk factor rises another couple of notches. Fingers crossed! 

LG: The most daring trick I've tried was before I was ever involved in circus. I was on a beach in Cornwall, England, and I saw this cliff that seemed jumpable. I went up and looked over the edge to see how scary it was from up high. I spent about 45 minutes repeatedly running up to the edge to get ready, until I eventually went for it. It was about 30 feet so there was a nice bit of airtime. I'm glad I did it, but I wouldn't do it again!

What does "Love of Theater" mean to you?
Louis Louis Gift

CW: An audience leaves their age in the foyer at the theater, entering the auditorium as an ensemble, ready to be whisked up and electrified by the spectacle. We all remember that one show or that one evening, where we travelled home from the theatre a different person, filled with inspiration from indescribable magic.

LG: It means a love of drama and a love of fantasy. When audiences see a performance, it's an opportunity for them to enter a fantasy world in which the performers act out a situation where they can experience emotion and drama, without having to deal with the fallout. Having said that, sometimes what an audience wants isn't the drama or a message, but good, clean fun. I think it is important not to undervalue that!

BD: From the inside, it would be that mad adrenaline that comes from perfectly executing your hardest trick, successfully making a whole theater full of people laugh or the spontaneous moments that take you by surprise. From the outside, it would be seeing something that instantly makes you want to go and create something or train harder than ever before.
 
 
Bromance Thumb In Bromance, the astonishing talent of these mates from London will make a hopeless bromantic out of you. Get your tickets today!
Posted by Beth Henderson
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