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Perelman Performing Arts Center
Photograph: Field Condition

A beautiful new theater is opening at the World Trade Center later this year

Perelman Performing Arts Center will debut this September.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

Downtown New York is in dire need of a proper performance space and the neighborhood is finally getting one in the form of the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC), which is set to open by the World Trade Center this upcoming September. 

Perelman Performing Arts Center
Photograph: REX

The cultural institution has been a long time coming, with talks regarding it kicking off when Michael Bloomberg, now a chairman on the project, first became mayor nearly two decades ago. Considering the scope of the new eight-story building, the timeline certainly makes sense.

When it opens, PAC will feature three main levels: a public-access one on the corner of Fulton and Greenwich streets where the lobby stage, a bar, a terrace and a restaurant by the acclaimed Marcus Samuelsson will be; a middle "artist" level, home to dressing rooms, green rooms, wardrobe areas and production facilities; and the top "play" floor, where folks will find three theaters and a rehearsal space.

Speaking of theaters: perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the plan, as described in an official press release, is its modular-like composition.

Perelman Performing Arts Center
Photograph: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Architecture firm REX designed the 138-foot-tall cube-shaped building in a way that will provide for flexible venues of different sizes through the use of mechanical and manuel systems. Three principal venues—the John E. Zuccotti Theater (seating up to 450 people), the Mike Nichols Theater (seating up to 250 spectators) and the Doris Duke Theater (seating up to 99 viewers)—will, in fact, be available for independent or combined use.

"In all, the auditoria can transform into 10 different proportions that collectively adopt more than 50 stage-audience arrangements with capacities ranging from 99 to 950 seats, and with audience circulation and lobby areas varying to match," reads the press release. Talk about the future of performance venues.

Perelman Performing Arts Center
Photograph: Bill Saltzstein

As for the outside of the structure, you may refer to it as an ode to Europe: the facade boasts 5,000 panels of bookmatched marble that was quarried and cut in Portugal and then fabricated with glass in France before being assembled into its current form in Germany. The tiles will "allow light to radiate in during the day and glow out during the evening," offering both patrons and passerby a visually enticing scenario.

No word yet on what sorts of shows will be mounted inside but representatives reveal that further details regarding the inaugural season will be announced this spring. 

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