Billie Holiday Theatre

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The Billie Holiday Theatre is as 218 seat theatre located in the New York neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. It opened in May 1972,[1] It was founded by the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.[2]

The Billie Holiday Theatre is a nonprofit organization located at 1368 Fulton Street, inside the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation's Restoration Plaza, and is part of a $6 million [3] superblock in Bedford-Stuyvesant eventually housing an ice-skating rink, a supermarket, and the theatre.[3]

Theatre background[edit]

The Billie Holiday Theatre, 2017

Franklin A. Thomas, the first Black President of the Ford Foundation,[3] used his position to revitalize his hometown neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant through the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The $6 million unit housed the 218-seat Billie Holiday Theatre. Thomas’ concept behind the theatre was “to expose the second largest black community in America to the arts while providing an outlet for local talent.” [3] Marjorie Moon was appointed as the theatre’s executive director.[3] Under Moon, “the theatre built a community audience by placing Bedford Stuyvesant citizens on the theatre’s board.” [3]

In 2015, the theater moved to Fort Greene for two years while the Bedford-Stuyvesant location was being renovated.[4][5] The renovations to The Billie Holiday Theatre were designed by MBB Architects. The newly renovated theater reopened in May 2017.[6]

Notable alumni[edit]

Well-known theatre actors who have performed at the Billie Holiday Theatre include Samm-Art Williams,[3] Samuel L. Jackson,[3] Debbie Allen,[3] Tichina Arnold,[7] Obba Babatunde,[7] and Rondell Sheridan[7]

Notable works[edit]

Young Gifted and Broke (1977) by Weldon Irvine ran for a record seventy-seven sold out performances.[3]

In 2010 the theatre presented the award-winning play, What Would Jesus Do?.[8]


  1. ^ "Billie Holiday Theatre at Restoration Plaza". Time Out New York.
  2. ^ Johnson, Kimberle' "Community Development Corporations, Participation and Accountability: The Harlem Urban Development Corporation and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 594th ser. ANAALS.AAPSS (2004): n. pag. Sage Journals. Web.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hill, Errol, and James Vernon Hatch. A History of African American Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. Print.
  4. ^ "Wendell Pierce to open Bed-Stuy theater’s Fort Greene run". By Matthew Perlman, The Brooklyn Paper.
  5. ^ Stapinski, Helene (2017-03-15). "In Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ready for 'the Billie' to Return". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  6. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Historic Billie Holiday Theatre to Reopen Next Week". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  7. ^ a b c TNJ Life, ed. "The Billie Holiday Theatre." The Network Journal Magazine Version (September 2008): n. pag. Sept. 2008. Web.
  8. ^ "Akin Babatunde, Daniel Beaty, Kenita Miller, and More Win 2010 Audelco Awards". Theatre Mania, Dan Bacalzo • New York City • Nov 17, 2010

Coordinates: 40°40′48″N 73°56′44″W / 40.680034°N 73.945642°W / 40.680034; -73.945642