The Tank (theater)

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The Tank
The Tank logo.jpg
The Tank's logo
A yellow brick building with two double glass doors, one to the left, the other to the right, runs out of the frame at the top. A person is entering through the left glass doors. A black and white banner hangs from the second story with The Tank's logo and the words "THE TANK".
The Tank's entrance (left), 2018
Address312 West 36th Street, Manhattan, New York
Coordinates40°45′13″N 73°59′36″W / 40.7535298°N 73.9932606°W / 40.7535298; -73.9932606Coordinates: 40°45′13″N 73°59′36″W / 40.7535298°N 73.9932606°W / 40.7535298; -73.9932606
Genre(s)Dance, theater, music, film, comedy
OpenedMay 2003 (2003-05)

The Tank is a nonprofit Off-Off-Broadway performance venue and producer in Manhattan, New York. The organization was founded in May 2003 and has since moved several times, currently residing on 36th Street. The Tank presents art across several disciplines (comedy, dance, theater, music, film), produced at no fee for use of the venue to the presenting artists. In addition to its space in Manhattan, The Tank produces shows performed elsewhere throughout New York City, collectively presenting over 800 performances each year.


The Tank was founded in May 2003 in Manhattan, New York, by eight artists, all recent college graduates in their mid-20s.[1][2][3] Its founders, mostly graduates of Yale University, Oberlin College, and Harvard University, included playwright Amy Herzog, playwright and director Alex Timbers, Justin Krebs, Rachel Levy, Mike Rosenthal, and Randy Bell, who collectively expressed the goal of offering young artists across disciplines the space to create work in the center of New York City.[1][2][3][4][5]

The organization was first housed on 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.[3] The Tank leased the space on a month-to-month basis from a landlord who intended to sell the building in which the theater was housed, and within 10 months, they had repaid their startup loans. The company derived its name from the architecture of its first space: three large windows overlooking 42nd Street led to someone calling the space The Fishtank and later the Fish was dropped in favor of The Tank.[2][3] By 2006, the company had moved twice and by 2007, it had won an unsolicited grant of $10,000 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and was receiving money from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.[2] The Tank's third location, into which it moved in 2006, was on Church Street in the Tribeca neighborhood, where the organization shared space with Collective:Unconscious as late as 2008.[1][2][6]

By 2010, The Tank had returned to Manhattan's midtown Theater District, occupying the Davenport Theatre on 45th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.[1][7] The Tank had moved to 46th Street by 2013, where it resided until 2017.[4][8] That year, The Tank signed a ten-year lease on and moved to a two-stage venue on 36th Street, the former home of Abingdon Theatre Company, with one 56-seat black box theater and one 98-seat proscenium theater.[9][10][11] The Tank's move coincided with the relocations of several other New York City theaters in mid-2017, including the Flea Theater and the Chocolate Factory.[11]

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, which premiered at The Tank in 2003, received an Obie Award special citation in 2004.[12] In 2007, Lucy Alibar's Juicy and Delicious, which would later be adapted into Beasts of the Southern Wild, had its world premiere at The Tank.[13] Alibar's screenplay would go on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[14] The Tank has received six Drama Desk Award nominations. Two shows, ADA/AVA and YOUARENOWHERE, were nominated in 2016, and another two, the ephemera trilogy and The Paper Hat Game, were nominated in 2017, all in the category of Unique Theatrical Experience.[15][16] In 2018, Sinking Ship Productions' A Hunger Artist received two nominations: Outstanding Solo Performance and Outstanding Puppet Design.[17]

The Tank's artistic directors are Rosalind Grush and Meghan Finn as of 2017.[9]


Categorized as an Off-Off-Broadway venue, The Tank presents more than 800 performances each year across several disciplines.[18][19] Each discipline–including dance, music, theater, comedy, and film–is curated by one or more curators.[1][2] Artists do not pay to use the venue and are paid a portion of the ticket sales, a practice made sustainable by surplus value generated by better-selling shows.[1] As a nonprofit producer, the organization relies heavily on volunteers.[1][20] Most days, The Tank runs multiple shows in a single night.[1] In addition to presenting shows at its 36th Street location, artists have also produced pieces with The Tank at other venues in New York City, such as the 3LD Art and Technology Center in Lower Manhattan and Standard ToyKraft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[20][21] The theater runs several festivals each summer, including LadyFest and DarkFest, the latter of which requires performers to create shows using no stage lighting.[22][23]


The Village Voice listed The Tank in its Best of NYC poll in 2004, describing the theater as the city's "Best Broadway theater turned hipster hangout".[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hodges, Mary Love (February 3, 2010). "Spotlight on The Tank". The Brooklyn Rail. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lambert, Craig (March–April 2007). "Avant-Garde Incubator". Harvard Magazine. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Eichna, Charlotte (June 17, 2004). "Downtown Edge in Midtown Venue". West Side Spirit. p. 26.
  4. ^ a b "The Tank: A Theasy Interview with Josh Luxenberg, curator of the Flint & Tinder theater series at The Tank". Theatre Is Easy. June 2013. Archived from the original on October 13, 2015. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Pinto, Nick (February 2008). "Subterranean 'Tank' Hosts New Music". The Tribeca Trib. p. 43. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Williams, James R., ed. (2007). Inside New York 2008. New York City: Inside New York. p. 158. ISBN 978-1892768407.
  7. ^ La Rocco, Claudia (April 5, 2011). "A Long Swim Looking for Laughs". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 28, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Heins, Scott (January 16, 2017). "5 Fun Things To Do In NYC This Week". Gothamist. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Fujishima, Kenji (August 25, 2017). "The Tank Announces New Season, New Home". TheaterMania. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Clement, Olivia (August 31, 2017). "The Tank Finds New Home in Old Abingdon Theatre Company Space". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Felton-Dansky, Miriam (September 12, 2017). "This Fall, Rent-Challenged Downtown Theaters Are Battling to Stay in Place". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (September 15, 2006). "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant Returns to NYC". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 30, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  13. ^ Cox, Gordon (July 14, 2012). "'Beasts' author has stage roots". Variety. Archived from the original on April 22, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  14. ^ Han, Angie (January 10, 2013). "85th Academy Award Nominations: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' 'Lincoln,' and 'Silver Linings Playbook' Earn Major Recognition". /Film. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  15. ^ Editorial staff (June 5, 2016). "Shuffle Along, The Humans, and More Take Home 2016 Drama Desk Awards". TheaterMania. Archived from the original on August 12, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  16. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (April 27, 2017). "'Hello, Dolly!' And 'The Hairy Ape' Lead Drama Desk Musical, Drama Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 28, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  17. ^ "2018 Nominees". Drama Desk Awards. Drama Desk. April 26, 2018. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  18. ^ Hookey, Sarah (March 12, 2019). "All For One Theater premieres Crystal Skillman's Open at The Tank in June". BroadwayWorld. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  19. ^ "Study of Off-Off-Broadway Performance Venues" (PDF). New York Innovative Theatre Foundation. December 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 16, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Roberts, Shoshana (November 15, 2016). "Vera & Valya & The Magical One Cat Circus". Theatre Is Easy. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  21. ^ Brantley, Ben (June 26, 2016). "Review: Urban Nightmares as Puppets in 'The Paper Hat Game'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  22. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (August 21, 2018). "Review: Besties With Rasputin in 'Red Emma and the Mad Monk'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  23. ^ van Laarhoven, Kasper (July 27, 2017). "Let There Be Dark! at This Electricity-Free Theater Festival". Bedford + Bowery. New York. Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  24. ^ Cole, Lori (October 6–12, 2004). "Best Broadway theater turned hipster hangout". The Village Voice. p. 88. Archived from the original on October 27, 2004. Retrieved June 27, 2019.

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