The independent film and television studio A24 has created many awards show darlings, including Oscar nominees The Whale and Everything Everywhere All At Once. And soon, the studio will be expanding from the screen to the stage. A24 has purchased the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City’s West Village, according to a deed filed on Friday.
The theater was founded by a group of artists—including the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay—in the early ’20s. Throughout its 100-year history, it has staged plays by the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tennessee Williams. Today, it bills itself the longest continually running off-Broadway theater,
The $10 million deal, first reported by Curbed’s Clio Chang, is the studio’s first foray into live entertainment. It plans to host plays, occasional film screenings and other live performances at the venue, which includes a 179-seat mainstage theater and a smaller 60-seat studio theater.
“2023 is a big year for us!” wrote the theater in an Instagram post on Monday. “We are celebrating our centennial as the birthplace of off-Broadway and we are very excited to announce that we are now a proud member of the A24 family. We look forward to this next chapter in our history!”
A24 plans to host events celebrating the theater’s centennial this spring, then close for renovations, per the New York Times’ Michael Paulson. The studio will retain the theater’s staff. A full schedule of programming is slated to start next year.
“Much remains uncertain about how the company intends to use the theater,” according to the Times. “A24 declined to make anyone available to speak on the record about the acquisition, but an official there said that the company had not yet decided whether it would develop work for the stage, or present work developed by others.”
The expansion is part of A24’s new strategic growth plan. In March 2022, the studio secured a $225 million equity investment, saying at the time that it planned to use the funding to expand production and develop new projects “beyond the screen,” reports Greg Evans of Deadline.
With the purchase, the studio is following in the footsteps of companies such as Audible, Amazon’s audio subsidiary, which has leased the Minetta Lane Theater in Greenwich Village for live events since 2018. Curbed also reports that Netflix has “similarly taken over a number of struggling historic venues—though they’re all movie theaters—including the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles and the Paris Theater on 58th Street.”
Angelina Fiordellisi, Cherry Lane’s longtime owner, tells the Times that she is pleased to make the deal with the studio.
“I really believe my theater is going into the right hands,” she says. “They love to develop and produce the work of emerging writers, and a lot of their writers are playwrights. I can’t imagine a better way to bring future life to the theater.”