A Note from Artistic Director Joan Kane from the program for Bitten
Site-specific theatre is any type of theatrical production designed to be performed at a location other than in a standard theatre. In this case, the location itself is the setting of the theatrical story. Quinn's Bar and Grill on 44th St is playing the part of a mythical Quinn's in Richmond Hill, Queens.
Site-specific theatre has long been a goal of Ego Actus. The bar where Stella, the lead character, spends her days is as much a character in her life as her late husband once was. We could have presented this play on a stage with a set that looked like a bar, but the ambience would have been so much less. Here in Quinn's, the audience experience is inherently immersive. We encourage you to buy food and drinks from Quinn's and become part of Stella's world.
The real Quinn's is relatively new to the neighborhood, although it is in a space that has been several other incarnations of bars. The owners, Clive Height, and Anthony Quinn, have long experience in the restaurant industry in the Broadway area and have chosen to use their space to support independent theatre, as opposed to the many places in the area that cater to the commercial theatre crowds and crews. Ego Actus is extremely grateful for their support.
Open Letter to the Independent Theatre Community in New York City
We are writing to describe a great resource for those of us in the independent theatre community in New York City. Our company, Ego Actus, just had the pleasure to produce a play in the upstairs room at Quinn’s Bar and Grill at 356 West 44th St near 9th Avenue. Our show was Bitten, a site-specific piece set in a bar, so presenting it in a real bar was a natural fit. The owners, Clive Height and Anthony Quinn and their staff were amazingly supportive. We set our own schedule and only had to work around a couple of other bookings of the room during our three week, nine show run. We chose to use the space in a stadium style with the playing area in the middle and the audience in two groups on either side. We were able to seat about 54 people that way comfortably and legally. It can hold up to 70 and is an Equity approved venue. The upstairs room has a bar so patrons can eat and drink, before, during and after performances either upstairs or in the main room on the ground floor. When we do shows, we often go out somewhere with cast, crew and friends after a performance. Being in a bar already, we did not have to go anywhere.
There is no stage and what lighting there is, is not quite as bright as you might want, but the place has great Irish bar ambience. Did we tell you the best part? It is FREE. Our audiences spent money there on food and drinks with no minimum charged and as a result we were able to price our tickets at $10.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions. We will do our best to help.