At a time when most Long Island theaters are anxious about what's next for them, Bay Street Theater is embracing the future.
On Friday, the Sag Harbor venue's creative team announced that Bay Street will be getting a brand-new home that will feature multiple theaters, dedicated education facilities, and outdoor performance and public spaces. The new location will be on a recently acquired site at the entrance to Sag Harbor and will overlook John Steinbeck Waterfront Park.
"We’ve rented our space for 30 years and now we wanted to make a permanent home for Bay Street," said Adam Potter, founder and chairman of the nonprofit organization Friends of Bay Street. The theater, he said, "had been reviewing and looking at a longtime solution for a number of years. Many spaces outside of Sag Harbor were considered, but the village wanted Bay Street to remain in Sag Harbor." It was Potter who suggested finding a location overlooking the water.
Friends of Bay Street and Sag Harbor Redevelopment will oversee the site’s development, including land acquisition, financing, fundraising and design.
Construction is slated to begin in mid-2021 with completion scheduled for sometime in 2023. Plans include the creation of a main stage theater, a smaller black box theater for presenting new works, education spaces for children's and adult programs, a shop and scenery storage. A mix of plays, musicals, concerts, comedy programs and more are on the programming menu.
Bay Street has long been an artistic outlet for presenting new works by prestigious playwrights such as Jules Feiffer and Lynn Nottage, as well as popular musicals including "Grey Gardens."
Potter said the search for an architect will be the project's next step, and from there, the size of the new venue can be determined. Bay Street's current home is on the Long Wharf.
"We’ve rented our space for 30 years and now we wanted to make a permanent home for Bay Street," Potter said. "This is an opportune time for us. Given the pandemic, a number of people have made Sag Harbor and the Hamptons a year-round residence. It's not going to be just a summer theater."