When a Downtown Presenter Goes Dark

The relentlessly changing metropolis is a story as old as New York, and the basic narrative of the Ohio Theatre drama -- about how gentrification makes it difficult for artists to remain in once-seedy neighborhoods that they helped to make safer and more attractive -- plays out in cities across the country. Still, it's worth pausing to consider, in the theater's final six months, what will be lost with its passing.

That's from my ARTicles piece on the soon-to-close Ohio Theatre and Soho Think Tank, the company that's run it as a presenting (mostly) and producing house since 1995. Soho Think Tank's artistic director, Robert Lyons, talks about the effect of the closure on the many companies and artists that have counted on the Ohio Theatre as a place to do their work downtown, and about the future of his company.
March 14, 2010 10:38 AM | | Comments (1)


I loved your story. And, of course, I love the Ohio. The only thing I'd like to add is that, in my view, the community bears some of the responsibility for what has gone on downtown. There is always lots of teeth-gnashing, upset and concern when spaces are lost, but the truth is the community does a terrible job fighting for itself; the real estate universe, including developers, fear no artists in this town, instead viewing them as gnats to be flicked off their shoulders.

To the consternation of not a few -- and with due apologies for the self-referral -- I wrote about this on the Clyde Fitch Report in "What the Closing of the Ohio Theatre Really Means": http://www.clydefitchreport.com/?p=5897.

I hope -- and have no doubt -- that Lyons, et. al., will live on to do and present their work. The question is at what point the loss of one more space officially becomes more than a fact to life to which we fitfully acquiesce.

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