For the past years, Company XIV has twirled, leaped and pranced– and not just during their bawdy, outre reimaginings of Snow White and The Nutcracker. Ever since the circus-burlesque-opera ensemble lost their Gowanus home due to flooding in 2012, they’ve moved every season, performing at Colonnade Row in NoHo, at Minetta Lane Theatre in the West Village, at the Irondale Theatre in Fort Greene and, most recently, at the Slipper Room.
All this wandering has finally come to an end; thanks to a successful fundraising campaign, they’ve secured a permanent home in Bushwick. Théâtre XIV, as it’s being called, is a warehouse space at 383 Troutman Street that formerly hosted the immersive show The Grand Paradise, Company XIV’s director and founder Austin McCormick told us in between renovating the new space and his choreography work for the Metropolitan Opera.
The aesthetic he’s aiming for is “Court of Versailles meets Brooklyn” and the warehouse space offers a perfect juxtaposition to the troupe’s glittery, chandelier-clad productions; it will be outfitted with a brand new stage, baroque furnishings so the audience can “enjoy the shows like royalty,” and a bar, aptly named BARoque.
A permanent space has clear advantages for XIV’s high-octane productions, which incorporate elements of baroque dance, burlesque, opera and elaborate circus acts. “Having a home space allows us to create our productions on the stage and set with all elements that will be used in performance,” McCormick explained. “We are conceiving new aerial acts and other special surprises unique to this specific space.”
Audiences can also expect more live music in the productions, where extremely talented singers such as Storm Marrero, Marcy Richardson and Brett Umlauf usually sing to a pre-recorded instrumental base.
Yet, it’s still not the right time for a full live orchestra. “We need a millionaire sugar daddy for a full orchestra…but a boy can dream.”
McCormick isn’t worried about the move to what might be, transportation-wise, a less accessible neighborhood. “We’ve had the opportunity to build our audience in both Manhattan and Brooklyn venues over several years and we’re confident that they will journey to Bushwick to get their XIV fix,” he said. “It’s incredibly expensive and difficult to make a live performance concept work in New York and we’ve created a situation where we have the chance to make the Company XIV business model sustainable.”
With House of Yes and LoftOpera’s performance spaces in the vicinity, Bushwick is now becoming a full-fledged theater district, and you don’t have to deal with the creepy Elmos of Times Square before enjoying a show. Company XIV’s 2017 season opens with their holiday hit Nutcracker Rouge, which will be readapted to the new space. New creations and repertoire performances will follow. In Addition, their partnership with Dances of Vice, which kicked off this past winter, is continuing, and their new joint act will celebrate the Seven Deadly Sins.