Sunnyside, Queens, New York
The Thalia Spanish Theatre is the first and only bilingual Hispanic theatre in Queens, serving one of the most diverse communities in the United States, including more than one million Hispanics from every Spanish-speaking nation in the world. Located in a storefront in the Sunnyside section of Queens, this project expands the space vertically to create additional audience seating, a proper technical booth, and enlarged administrative office and dressing rooms. The facade features a large metal mesh curtain wall; before performances, the curtain wall is lowered to the sidewalk to provide a space for the ticket line to form on the sidewalk while the interior of the lobby is then freed for gathering. Behind the curtain is a giant, tilted marquee that is lit with an LED screen that can be programmed with images or lighting effects. The front-of-house patron experience will be greatly improved with a double-height entry and increased amenities such as a streetfront box office window, a theatre “history wall,” and additional restrooms. Studies and renderings by Smith & Architects were instrumental in helping Thalia receive a $4.3 million capital improvement grant from the City of New York in 2014.