About Polonsky Shakespeare Center

About Polonsky Shakespeare Center

After more than three decades of award-winning and internationally-acclaimed productions, in 2013 Theatre for a New Audience opened its first home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center. Funded and developed through a public-private partnership with The City of New York, Polonsky Shakespeare Center was designed by celebrated architect Hugh Hardy and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. It is the first theatre in New York designed and built expressly for classic drama since Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont in the 1960s. The facility bears the name Polonsky Shakespeare Center in recognition of a naming gift from The Polonsky Foundation.

Under the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg (through the Mayor’s Office, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and the New York City Council), The City of New York invested more than $34 million in Theatre for a New Audience’s new home. Additional public support for the project came from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and the New York State Council on the Arts. In addition to leadership support from The City of New York and The Polonsky Foundation, major support for the Capital Campaign was provided by the SHS Foundation, Cleary, Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Theodore C. Rogers, and The Irving Harris Foundation.

A centerpiece of the Brooklyn Cultural District, the 27,500 square-foot Polonsky Shakespeare Center is a unique performance space in New York. The 299-seat Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage combines an Elizabethan courtyard theatre with modern theatre technology. Inspired by the Dorfman at London’s National Theatre, the Scripps is completely flexible: the stage and seating can be arranged in a wide variety of configurations to serve the artistic vision of every production. The facility also includes the Theodore C. Rogers Studio, as well as theatrical support spaces.

Recognition and awards for Polonsky Shakespeare Center include:

  • Excellence Award (Institutional) in the 2015 AIA New York State Design Awards from AIA New York State, Inc., an organization of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Merit Award in the 2015 AIANY Design Awards from the New York City Chapter of the AIA
  • 2015 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
  • 2014 Building Brooklyn Award from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
  • The National Council of Structural Engineering Association’s 2014 Excellence in Structural Engineering Award.

In addition, the new facility is a sustainable (green) theatre, with an anticipated LEED-NC Silver rating from the United States Green Building Council.

In its home at Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Theatre for a New Audience continues to contribute to the renaissance of Downtown Brooklyn. In addition to its season of plays, the Theatre offers lectures, workshops and activities for families. Since the opening of Polonsky Shakespeare Center, the Theatre’s audiences from across the tri-state region for its productions and programs have more than doubled. When not in use by the Theatre, our facility is available for rental, bringing much-needed performing and rehearsal space to the community.

In May 2017, the Theatre announced the successful completion of its $69.1 Million Capital Campaign. Theatre for a New Audience is deeply grateful to all who helped make this new facility a reality.

Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center
262 Ashland Place (between Fulton St. and Lafayette Ave.)
Brooklyn, NY 11217


Pictured above: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, photo ©David Sundberg/Esto.