The Apollo's Victoria Theater

A rough sketch of the new Victoria Theater

Message From Jonelle or Message from the President

Dear Friends,

In 2018, we announced that for the first time in nearly nine decades the Apollo was expanding its physical footprint, becoming the operator and manager for the cultural space located a few doors down within the Victoria Theater Redevelopment Project. After a pause due to the pandemic, I’m excited to announce that we will officially be opening the space, including two flexible theaters, one with 99 seats and the other with 199 seats, in March 2022.

This expansion allows us to provide vibrant, year-round artistic, educational, and community programs that build on the cultural heritage of Harlem and celebrate the enormous well of creativity found in our neighborhood. What’s more, Apollo’s Victoria Theater addresses the lack of cultural space uptown, providing greater access to professional-level theater venues for local artists, artist collectives, and small and mid-size Harlem and NYC-based arts organizations for the development and presentation of performance-based work and brings additional opportunities for audiences to engage with and visit Upper Manhattan, further driving economic investment in the Harlem community.

When the Apollo first began its journey to the Victoria with the Empire State Development (ESD) team in 2012, we never would have imagined that a pandemic would create so much uncertainty about the future for non-profit arts organizations nationwide. After being selected through a Request for Proposals process by ESD to oversee the cultural spaces, we took on responsibility for managing the design and construction of the theaters, including raising the capital to not only build the Victoria but also run it. Concurrently, we’ve been developing a number of programs to address local non-profits’ needs for space uptown to create and perform artistic work and community-centered initiatives.

Beginning in November, the Apollo will offer eligible, mission-aligned, non-profit arts and cultural organizations the opportunity to apply for Culture Forward, Apollo’s brand-new subsidy program that will significantly reduce the cost of using the theaters. The Apollo will offer selected organizations professional, high-quality technical equipment and the essential staff needed for events at the Victoria, all-inclusive, at substantially reduced rates for both performances and rehearsals. Additional details on the Culture Forward application process will be announced in the fall. This exciting project continues to evolve, and the Apollo is also in conversation with other local non-profit arts organizations about longer-term commitments to ensure the Victoria has year-round programming, part of the original mandate for the space by ESD.

Looking forward, the Apollo’s Victoria Theater will officially open in March with a special three-concert presentation of Dreaming Zenzile, a modern jazz theater-piece based on the extraordinary life of the late South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba. Grammy-nominated vocalist and songwriter Somi Kakoma created and will perform the work, which is presented in association with National Black Theatre.

The Apollo has always valued your thoughts, please send your feedback to [email protected] In the meantime, I very much hope you will join us on the Apollo’s Digital Stage in the months ahead, and I look forward to sharing more about our upcoming fall season and the additional celebrations we are planning for the Victoria Theater soon.

Sincerely,

Jonelle Procope

President & CEO
Apollo Theater

Features

Check out some of the features that will be included in the brand new addition to the Apollo.

  • 25,000-square foot facility designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects
  • 199-seat black box theater
  • 99-seat black box theater
  • Administrative offices

Upcoming Programs

  • Artist-In-Residence: With support from the Ford Foundation, the Apollo Theater has announced Ta-Nehisi Coates as the inaugural artist-in-residence. This three-year initiative, which will include events on the Apollo’s iconic stage and in the new Apollo spaces in the Victoria Theater in Fall 2020, will further deepen the relationship between Coates and the nonprofit theater. The Artist-in-Residence program reinforces the Apollo Theater’s commitment to celebrating African-American arts and culture, supporting emerging and established artists of color, and serving as an artistic, educational and community resource.
  • Salon Series: The Apollo Theater’s Salon Series supports new work development by emerging and mid-career artists by providing valuable resources such as workshop and rehearsal space and access to leading industry professionals.
  • Apollo Education: The Apollo Theater Academy develops the next generation of leaders in the performing arts, entertainment and media. Additional spaces at the Victoria Theater will allow for growing school time activities and interactive opportunities for the creation of new work and hands-on experience in the areas of production, design, and producing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the theaters at the Victoria?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is the Apollo’s role in the project?
  • How did the Apollo come to be involved in this project?
  • What are the cultural spaces within the redevelopment?
  • What will be the spaces be used for?
  • What programs does the Apollo plan to offer at the Victoria Theater?
  • Will the Apollo hire additional staff dedicated to the Victoria, or will the same staff and leadership manage both?
  • When will the project be completed? When will the first programs be presented
  • What are the criteria to rent the cultural spaces? How is that defined?
  • What are the criteria to rent the historic Apollo Theater?
  • Who are the other cultural partners?
  • How will this project affect 125th Street and what does it mean for the continued gentrification of Harlem? Will this adversely affect small businesses?
  • Did the Apollo have a role in planning the new layout / design of the theaters at the Victoria?
  • What happened to the original Victoria Theater?
  • How much of the existing interior will be retained?
  • Will the Apollo raise funds for the operation of the theaters at the Victoria?
  • Where is the money coming from to restore the theaters?
  • Where can I learn more about the theaters at The Victoria?
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