CHATHAM—PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century submitted a new application to the Chatham Zoning Board of Appeals on December 15, seeking approval for the design of a permanent performance space. This building would replace the saddlespan tent, which has housed the PS21 summer performing arts festival since 2006. It would be located on the same property as the tent but slightly up a hill, providing a view of the Catskills.
The application is for a winterized, enclosed building containing a black box theater, which would open up in summer months to accommodate PS21’s annual performing arts festival. The team that has been developing this design over the past nine months includes architect Evan Stoller, audio consultant David Kahn of Acoustic Distinction, theater design consultant Matt Welander, and engineers Brandee Nelson and Nicholas Vamvas of Crawford and Associates Engineering.
This application is the latest step in the evolution of a professional space for the performing arts. It also addresses issues raised by public officials in prior reviews of the project.
Over the past nine years, PS21 has built a summer festival with performances by internationally recognized dance companies and music groups. Musicians who have performed at PS21 include Simon Shaheen, Eugene Drucker, Tony Trischka, Yehuda Hanani, Alicia Svigals and Dafnis Prieto. Among the dance companies that have appeared are Parsons Dance, TAKE Dance, RubberbanDance, Jamal Jackson Dance, Lionel Popkin, Monica Bill Barnes and Pearson Widrig DanceTheater. The companies have also spent residencies developing new work in a dance studio located in a barn adjacent to the artists’ guest house.
The reputation of PS21 as a dance festival is growing, and the new building is designed expand the organization’s audience and present world-class dance companies in a more professional space than the tent can provide.
The new building will also be more comfortable, with good sightlines and protection from the weather. PS21 has ongoing collaborations with many local organizations, providing performing arts workshops and community events for children and elders. This new winter space will strengthen these relationships, providing more opportunities for collaboration.
PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century is a not-for-profit organization at 2980 Route 66. For more information call 518 392-6121 or visit ps21chatham.org.