Construction Near on New LIC Theatre Complex

Chain Building

Chain BuildingTalk about the burgeoning of Long Island City into a real player in the Gotham cultural scene-the theater scene in particular, since we already know that LIC is all over visual arts like brown on rice. Per a press release, Off-Off-Broadway’s Variations Theatre Group has announced plans to build a new theatre, plus rehearsal and office space, in something to be known as the Chain Theatre (lets hope the construction team isn’t called “the chain gang”).

Chain Theatre will be a 4,000-square-foot, two-story renovation of the old U.S. Chain Company building on 45th Road. And we have to say that in an era in which 30-square-feet of toxic dirt is utterly salivated over by any developer with a faint pulse for a 45-story condo, it really is awfully good news to read about this, and if you can’t hear us applauding, folks, please turn up your hearing aids.

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Below, we are providing some information on the announcement, including details on Variations Theatre, Chain Theatre and other tidbits. Needless to say, we wish them all the best in their efforts to raise some money via-what else?-crowdsourcing.

First, here’s some video for your delectation. Below that, some of the press release.

Chain Theatre from Variations Theatre Group on Vimeo.

….The theatre will house a black box performance space and dressing rooms as well as much needed rehearsal and office space for the VTG staff. Completion of phase 1 of the renovation is estimated for the end of October 2012. This new project will bring to fruition Variations Theatre Group’s long held desire to return to their roots in Long Island City to focus their energy and talent in and for the community that they call home.

The Chain Theatre will play a vital role in VTG’s development of new and existing work as well as bringing a new audience to VTG. Variations Theatre Group has established a capital campaign to fund the construction cost as well as to provide an endowment and operating funds for VTG’s programming in the new theatre. Each season VTG will produce two festivals of new work, a playwriting lab (Minor Variations Project), and their own interpretation of existing work. Previously VTG produced critically acclaimed productions of The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute and Fool For Love by Sam Shepard. Along with several full-length original works, VTG has produced The Harvest One-Act Play Festival and the New York Avant-Garde Arts Festival the past two years.

The goal of the Chain Theatre is to provide an outlet for incubation, development and presentation of many different mediums of art. The space will be equipped not only for theatrical events but for art showings, fundraising outings, and film viewings. The Chain seeks to keep costs down by creatively subsidizing the space and targeted fundraising. The Chain will focus on cross-medium programming based around VTG main stage productions. Variations seeks to bring vitality to the neighborhood of Long Island City and to serve as a forum for intellectually engaging work in and up and coming community, which is prime to become an artistic mecca.

If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to Variations Theatre Group for The Chain Theatre development, please visit or or