Nonprofit Turns to Kickstarter to Buy Slave Theater


A nonprofit called New Brooklyn Theater is trying to raise $200,000 on Kickstarter by Oct. 4. The group intends to use the money as a down payment to purchase the Slave Theater, the historic Afrocentric cultural institution whose building at 1215 Fulton Street in Bed Stuy is scheduled to be auctioned off today at 2:30 pm. New Brooklyn Theater was created by two theater professionals with no apparent existing ties to the Slave Theater. They pledge to restore the building and maintain it as a performing arts center featuring Brooklyn artists, foster original work from students in public and charter schools in the neighborhood, and offer tickets at affordable prices. The group’s multi-million-dollar four-phase plan includes fundraising from corporate and development partners. Artistic Director Jonathan Solari is a theater, opera and film director. Executive producer Sarah Wolff previously produced public programming at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. So far, 46 backers have pledged nearly $14,000.
Foreclosure Auction Set for Slave Theater [Brownstoner]
Slave Theater Vacated, but Questions of Ownership Linger [Brownstoner]
Bed Stuy’s Slave Theater Still Looking for Buyer [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo by Andreas Burgess

13 Comment

  • Just took a look at their website. I think Phase 1 should actually read:

    Down payment on theater: $200K
    Leave town

    Do they really expect to close by the end of October 2012? If that is the case I would expect them to have some preapproved funding in place – would love to see more details regarding that.

  • Does anyone know if they are planning a name changed? Only way I will donate. It was called the Regent Theatre, where I went to the movies by myself for the first time to see “Motel Hell”.

  • no-permits

    i would love to know where the money goes when these unrealistic kickstarted campaigns are unsuccessful. think broken angel.

    • blowfish

      no one gets charged/paid if the goal is not reached. if you mean, what if the fundraising goal is reached but the objective fails? i can’t tell from Kickstarter, other than that they *can* return it. But in this case, they created a 501(c)(3), so even if they don’t return the $, they can’t pocket it either. it would have to serve the non profit org.

    • blowfish

      no one gets charged/paid if the goal is not reached. if you mean, what if the fundraising goal is reached but the objective fails? i can’t tell from Kickstarter, other than that they *can* return it. But in this case, they created a 501(c)(3), so even if they don’t return the $, they can’t pocket it either. it would have to serve the non profit org.

  • I really hope they, or someone else, is successful in saving the theater. If not, your average foreclosure buyer will not care a flying fig for the history of the theater, whether it was the Regent or the Slave Theater, and will have it flattened for the land in a heartbeat. That would really be a shame, for many reasons. Bed Stuy used to have a wealth of theater buildings, there were at least two others in a 2 block radius from this building, now there are none. Loosing the Regent/Slave would be the end of an era in a neighborhood that is ready for what the New Brooklyn Theater is proposing.

    And judahspechal, assuming the organization is on the up and up, give some money. Who cares what the name is now? I doubt it will remain the Slave, more than likely it will be the New Brooklyn Theater. But to not give because you don’t like the name is like not saving someone because you don’t like what they are wearing. The building is more important than the name. For the record, I’m not enamored of the name “Slave” any more than you are, but that was Judge Phillip’s name, and his thing, at that time and place. He at least had a vision and acted on it. Let’s save the building, so it will be there for the next great vision.

  • the murals look interesting…i’ve never been in this place but always kinda wanted to

  • noladarling

    “The Regent & Slave Theater”, everybody wins!

  • The can call it the idealistic hipster theatre for all I care. It will still be better than what’s there now. The history of the previous owner’s treatment, is a sad case of evil and greed.

  • The can call it the idealistic hipster theatre for all I care. It will still be better than what’s there now. The history of the previous owner’s treatment, is a sad case of evil and greed.

  • @wrathofgates – We have had a donor who has secured a line of credit for us to cover a mortgage once we have the downpayment. We have met with their investment firm and are ready to proceed as soon as we reach our fundraising goal. We also have a development staff that is ready to come on board once we are in the building. That department exists solely to secure the funds necessary to maintain intelligent, affordable programming. There are endless opportunities for grants, corporate partnerships and individual gifts that await us once we are officially the owners of this building.
    As for your suggestions on Phase I, I’ll just say that we’re not going to go anywhere.
    @judahspechal The name of the building will be ‘New Brooklyn Theater.’ We intend to honor the history of the theater restoring the murals that were painted while it was The Slave, as well as showing the films that premiered there when it was the Regent.
    @no-permits Although I don’t agree with you saying that our ambitions are “unrealistic”, I can assure you that in the event that our campaign is unsuccessful no one who donates will be charged for their contribution. That is Kickstarter policy.
    @montrosemorris Thank you for your interest in the building and the history of the neighborhood. I’d be happy to speak with you, or anyone who has such a passion for the space, feel free to write me at NBT@newbrooklyntheater.com
    @blowfish That’s correct. If we reach our goal and, for some reason, can’t work something out with the current owner we must give our resources to another charitable organization. We hope that this will not be the case but we are taking the necessary steps to secure a partnership with another 501(c)3 that serves the Bed-Stuy community.
    @timber Having seen them firsthand, I can tell you that they are beautiful but need care to keep from eroding. I hope that you’ll have a chance to see them soon.
    @noladarling Regardless of the name, if we are able to preserve this piece of history and create a cultural space for the community, everybody wins.
    @crownlfc I believe the idealistic hipster theater is in Portland, Oregon.

    Thank you all for your interest. My lines are open if anyone has questions, suggestions or concerns.

    Jonathan Solari
    Artistic Director
    New Brooklyn Theater
    bit.ly/NBTKickstarter
    NBT@newbrooklyntheater.com

  • @wrathofgates – We have had a donor who has secured a line of credit for us to cover a mortgage once we have the downpayment. We have met with their investment firm and are ready to proceed as soon as we reach our fundraising goal. We also have a development staff that is ready to come on board once we are in the building. That department exists solely to secure the funds necessary to maintain intelligent, affordable programming. There are endless opportunities for grants, corporate partnerships and individual gifts that await us once we are officially the owners of this building.
    As for your suggestions on Phase I, I’ll just say that we’re not going to go anywhere.
    @judahspechal The name of the building will be ‘New Brooklyn Theater.’ We intend to honor the history of the theater restoring the murals that were painted while it was The Slave, as well as showing the films that premiered there when it was the Regent.
    @no-permits Although I don’t agree with you saying that our ambitions are “unrealistic”, I can assure you that in the event that our campaign is unsuccessful no one who donates will be charged for their contribution. That is Kickstarter policy.
    @montrosemorris Thank you for your interest in the building and the history of the neighborhood. I’d be happy to speak with you, or anyone who has such a passion for the space, feel free to write me at NBT@newbrooklyntheater.com
    @blowfish That’s correct. If we reach our goal and, for some reason, can’t work something out with the current owner we must give our resources to another charitable organization. We hope that this will not be the case but we are taking the necessary steps to secure a partnership with another 501(c)3 that serves the Bed-Stuy community.
    @timber Having seen them firsthand, I can tell you that they are beautiful but need care to keep from eroding. I hope that you’ll have a chance to see them soon.
    @noladarling Regardless of the name, if we are able to preserve this piece of history and create a cultural space for the community, everybody wins.
    @crownlfc I believe the idealistic hipster theater is in Portland, Oregon.

    Thank you all for your interest. My lines are open if anyone has questions, suggestions or concerns.

    Jonathan Solari
    Artistic Director
    New Brooklyn Theater
    bit.ly/NBTKickstarter
    NBT@newbrooklyntheater.com