Founded in 2002, 59E59 Theaters presents Off-Broadway productions by not-for-profit companies from across the United States and around the world. Owned and operated by the Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation,59E59 Theaters brings new, innovative and invigorating work to East Side audiences. 59E59 Theaters aims to provide a space for emerging and established not-for-profit theater companies to reach new audiences and expand the range of theater available in an Off-Broadway setting. 59E59 Theaters is committed to fostering diversity in its theater programming.
At the heart of our program is the 5A Season, a five-play season of the best American and international writing that has been carefully curated to fulfill our decade-long mission of bringing new plays to a new audience.
Complementing the 5A Season we continue to carefully select groundbreaking new work from across the spectrum of the theatrical arts for our two smaller space, including an annual festival of new British theater called Brits Off Broadway and a preview of shows going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe called East to Edinburgh.
The Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation, a not-for-profit operating foundation, was set up to create a new, state-of-the-art theater complex that would bring new, challenging and experimental work in an underserved location on 59th Street between Park and Madison Avenues in Manhattan.
In 2002, the building at 59 East 59th Street was donated to the Foundation. The building was essentially gutted, and the theaters were designed and constructed. The architect, Leo Modrcin, worked with the Foundation to create a facility with an inviting ambiance to foster neighborhood attendance as well as provide excellent support for companies performing in the three spaces.
Our largest space, Theater A, opened in February 2004 with the first performance of The Stendhal Syndrome produced by then resident company, Primary Stages. In April 2004, the other spaces, Theater B, and Theater C opened with productions for our first annual Brits Off Broadway Festival. Since that time, the theaters have been continuously busy with shows generally running for three to six weeks.