The Tank (theater)
The Tank's logo
The Tank's entrance (left), 2018
|Address||312 West 36th Street, Manhattan, New York|
|Genre(s)||Dance, theater, music, film, comedy|
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. 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.
The organization was first housed on 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. 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. 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. 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.
By 2010, The Tank had returned to Manhattan's midtown Theater District, occupying the Davenport Theatre on 45th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. The Tank had moved to 46th Street by 2013, where it resided until 2017. 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. 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.
A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, which premiered at The Tank in 2003, received an Obie Award special citation in 2004. 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. Alibar's screenplay would go on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. 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. In 2018, Sinking Ship Productions' A Hunger Artist received two nominations: Outstanding Solo Performance and Outstanding Puppet Design.
The Tank's artistic directors are Rosalind Grush and Meghan Finn as of 2017.
Categorized as an Off-Off-Broadway venue, The Tank presents more than 800 performances each year across several disciplines. Each discipline–including dance, music, theater, comedy, and film–is curated by one or more curators. 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. As a nonprofit producer, the organization relies heavily on volunteers. Most days, The Tank runs multiple shows in a single night. 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. The theater runs several festivals each summer, including LadyFest and DarkFest, the latter of which requires performers to create shows using no stage lighting.
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