The Bay Street Theater has officially changed its name to the Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts, effect immediately. Executive Director, Tracy Mitchell, and the Artistic Director, Scott Schwartz, met with the press recently to outline their new vision for the theater to talk names changes and programming.
In addition to live theatrical productions, Bay Street works closely with the Sag Harbor community hosting concerts and lectures. The Bay Street Theater has also worked in some way or another with all of the important organizations on the East End. Part of the change of name is also to instate a new vision and a new mission statement, which is, “The Bay Street Theater is a year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center which endeavors to innovate, educate and entertain a diverse community through the practice of the performing arts. We serve as a social and cultural gathering place, an educational resource and a home for a community of artists.”
The directors felt that this new mission statement encapsulates everything the theater tries to do, and allows other members of the community to do, in their facility. Obviously, the first and primary focus is on professional theatrical productions, but they also have other interests.
Bay Street has released a new logo because they felt if they are reintroducing the theater name, it was the opportune time to reintroduce themselves visually and present themselves with the energy and excitement for the work being done at the theater. Harun Zankel designed the new logo. Outside of the theater, the new logo spills off the page and appears to be bigger than the box that it is within. This logo is just the start of what they are designing. It is the first element, and they will continue to work on the next stages incorporating the Sag Harbor Center for the Arts, with a new website.
Some of the new programming includes the Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative. The first actual event under this banner is a public reading of “The Tempest,” starring John Glover, a Tony Award-winning actor and one of the founding members of Bay Street. The cast will include some local performers, and some from New York City. It will take place outdoors and there will be two performances. One is a paid-for performance for any patrons who wish to attend and another will be on August 17th in the early evening, a free reading for the community. Another part of this Shakespeare initiative allows audience members to sponsor a character through a donation, which makes them more a part of the show and gets them involved.
The late-night programming, “Black Out At Bay Street,” is a cabaret. They will perform three weekends, and if the audience enjoys it, it is something Bay Street will look into keeping in future years. The first performances are on July 18th and 19th, and will be an all-male burlesque version of, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” but it will be called, “The Importance of Being Oscar.” The second weekend is August 8th and 9th and a group is coming in to perform Bay Street Cabaret, featuring performances by the cast of “My Life is a Musical.” All of these late-night events will happen in the Bay Street lobby and there will be specialty cocktails, bartenders and much more. There is a second annual New Works Festival with dates still to be determined.
Bay Street is also undergoing a lot of new educational initiatives, and the new director of education is Julia Motyka, a director, actor and producer. The camps this year will be four weeks of camps in two different locations. The kids will be at Studio 3 in Bridgehampton for two weeks, and at the Southampton Arts center for two weeks. There will also be teen workshops on July 14th, where the students can work with main stage artists from travesties, and on August 4th, the teens will have the opportunity to work with Scott directly in “Acting the Song.” According to Scott Schwartz, “Travesties” is an amazing theatrical play that is unlike anything you have ever seen. It is a wild, mash up of brilliant text, and they only way to describe it is a comedic theatrical extravaganza, while conviction is a naturalistic, contemporary play.