ABOUT THE ALCHEMICAL
The Alchemical is a performance and rehearsal venue with creative work spaces for the performing and visual arts. A true artistic laboratory where artists can engage in the research and development of new work through rehearsal, teaching and performance.
Our two 70-seat white box theatres, 50-seat theatre laboratory, and four affordable clean rehearsal studios are uniquely inviting spaces for rehearsals, performances, classes, workshops, readings, photography & video shoots, dance, fashion, lectures, auditions, screenings, and more.
We are proud to run an organization which serves a great diversity of NYC and international artists. The Alchemical is a safe haven to work in and create. It provides a uniquely inviting social atmosphere in which serious artists can find community and support. We closely attend to the needs of everyone who works here, and strive to maintain a respectful and constructive atmosphere to support the community we happily serve. We are an artist-run facility and understand the importance of your work.
By providing affordable space to emerging artists, as well as to established organizations who seek The Alchemical’s intimate environment, we strive to catalyze our dedication to supporting research into the contemporary meaning and nature of live performance.
The Alchemical is also known as an unusually warm and exciting downtown salon for experimental theatre, music, fashion & performance. We are committed to developing the social potential of performance, and actively foster a true discourse between artists and the public. We think of the theatrical experience as a “creative public assembly”, an the audience as an important partner in fulfilling our mission.
Our aims are to present public events that are informative, inspiring and fun, and to engender a meaningful engagement between artists and audience. We encourage our presenting artists to hold talkbacks and make time for audience to meet artists. This helps promote an atmosphere of congenial discourse and intellectual community among thoughtful artists and free spirits. Our events tend to attract other artists, affording the attending public a personal engagement rarely found in bigger, less colloquial spaces.
At this time in New York City, it is not easy to find space to produce new theatre, music, art and performance. We are pleased that we can provide affordable spaces to artists and the public in that regard. We invite you explore our website, friend us on Facebook, and give us a call at 212-675-1390 to discuss how your next project might work at The Alchemical.
A Note from Founder Carlo Altomare
I have always loved the work of producing and organizing a place where artists can develop and present their projects. It’s a privilege and a creative endeavor in its vision and attention to detail. Every day I aspire toward it being a work of art in itself. I see The Alchemical Theatre Laboratory as such a place.
When I left The Living Theatre in 1979, it seemed clear to me that the theatre was primarily about the meeting of artist and public, a creative public assembly. The occurrences on stage serve as a catalyst to ignite an often surprising experience of how we see ourselves and one another, how we might better understand community, or achieve a glimpse of inspired communion. This is the intended outcome of the alchemical opus.
About 104 W 14 St.
As of August 2014, The Alchemical occupies the full third floor, and later added the back of the first & second floor of a charming five story building. Conveniently located on West Fourteenth Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. We welcome rehearsals, castings, readings, fashion event, art events, etc. Our studios are also great for photo shoots, offering lots of natural light. We salvaged the old tin ceilings throught the space, which are now painted white. Studio A, the signature white-box performance theatre, comfortably seats 70, with full theatre lighting and modular platforms which accomplish an array of seating and staging configurations.
History of The Alchemical Theatre
The Alchemical Theatre Laboratory name has a history that dates from 1981. The Alchemical was an important part of the East Village independent arts scene: first in a basement on E. 9 St. (hosting artists like John Zorn and The Improvisers Network) and then on E. 13 St., presenting the first East Village Jazz Festival, a swingin’ poetry series (curated by John Farris) which included beat poet Jack Micheline, and poet/playwright Amiri Baraka. They put together many beautiful “Alchemical Evenings” featuring the fabulous and unique performers who where around at that time. They also occupied the New York Theatre Ensemble building on E. 4 St. (now the Duo Theatre) for a year, where they ran Artists Present Artists, a series of music, film, theatre, and dance.
At the center of all this autonomous organizing (there was no funding to speak of) was The Alchemical Theatre Acting Company: Mary Krapf, Martin Reckhaus, Jessica Slote, Philip Brehse, Nolan Baer, Elena Jandova, and of course, director Carlo Altomare. They were always determined to secure a space for their own productions and which they could share with other artists in their community. Not only did it make sense in the political/economic atmosphere of that time, but it also afforded them the opportunity to work closely with other artists. The space created the community, and encouraged an active discourse between artists and audience through congenial gatherings after the performances. The Alchemical was a social phenomena, not merely a presenting organization.
After 7 years of successfully building "Theaterlab" (Alchemical's interrum name) with his previous partner, she and Mr Altomare decided to work separately in 2012. She retained the Theaterlab name and move to a new location uptown. Mr Altomare then reestablished The Alchemical Theatre Laboratory at Theaterlab’s former digs (137 W 14 St) and formed a partnership with Gia Lisa Krahne.
In the midst of a 22-month long real estate search, Mr Altomare and Miss Krahne closed the doors of that location in October 2013. They designed and built a new location from ground up across the street at 104 W 14 St in August 2014.
It is in this spirit of creative public assembly that they revived the Alchemical name and starting anew once again.
At this time in New York City, it is not easy to find space to produce new theatre, music, art and performance. We are pleased that we can provide affordable spaces to artists and public in that regard. We invite you to continue exploring our website and consider bringing your work to The Alchemical.