Dixon Place, A Place that Matters
August 14th, 2009, 3:00 pm
Dixon Place only recently opened its doors on Chrystie Street, but it has had a distinctive presence in the downtown theater scene since 1986. A veritable living room-cum-rehearsal and performance space, Dixon Place has been and remains one of the few New York City venues committed to featuring new and original works as well as nurturing dancers, actors, and literary artists during various stages of their creative process. Just as artists produce developing works at Dixon Place, so the theater itself has been a work-in-progress. Formally established in 1986, founder Ellie Covan brought the spirit of the impromptu salons she used to hold in Paris to a store front in the East Village. Its opening act was a six month reading series of original works called “Tuesdays at Dixon Place.” Soon outgrowing its space, Ms. Covan moved Dixon Place to her larger, though modest home, on the Bowery. Despite the financial difficulties operating a theater and constraints of doing so in her own home, Ms. Covan kept Dixon Place alive – for some years at the former Vinyard Theater and other downtown venues. During this time, Dixon Place was a starting point for many renowned and quintessentially New York actors and artists such as the Blue Man Group and John Leguizamo. Dixon Place has been the recipient of a Bessie and an Obie award as well as the Edwin Booth Award for Excellence in Theater. Now in its new and permanent home on Chrystie Street, Dixon Place still feels like an intimate living room salon, a bar and lobby that will act as a secondary stage and meeting place for artists. All this sits atop Dixon Place’s new state-of-the-art theater designed by architects of the Joyce BAM Harvey Theatres, Meyer + Gifford Architects. While the theater is Dixon’s largest to date – it can house up to 150 people – it continues to acts as a rehearsal and incubator space for artists and performers to test out their ideas and techniques in front of a live audience. To read the nomination and new profile for Dixon Place, log on to Place Matters. Please tell your friends about these places of history, memory, and culture and invite them to join the Place Matters e-mail list.