Arts company BkOne opens new 100-seat theater in Industry City

The new art space will bring performances and activities to the repurposed industrial development all year.
The new art space will bring performances and activities to the repurposed industrial development all year.
File photo courtesy of Industry City

The curtain is rising at Industry City. 

Brooklyn One Productions, a non-profit theater company known for their summer Shakespeare productions, has found a permanent home at the Sunset Park industrial complex, where they’ll feature year-round shows for the borough’s art lovers. 

The theater industry directly contributes $43 million to the Big Apple’s economy, including expenditures by and producers theater owners, and includes performer’s salaries, sets and rents. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, there are 54,160 actors living in the U.S., but only 7.2% were employed in the creative profession as of May of 2022 — partly due to the lack of opportunities for writers and producers to bring their work to the stage. 

The new space will have a running list of performances as soon as they settle into the Industry City location.   

Brooklyn One Productions (BkOne) co-founder Anthony Marino, who is himself an actor, director and producer said the group will host comedy shows, children’s theater, art shows, movie screenings and more.

The opening at 51 35th St. on Saturday at 11 a.m. will feature an all-day event of music, an art exhibition with work from 15 different artists from Brooklyn, and food from Frying Pan (another Industry City tenant).

“I would call it an off-Broadway black box-style theater space,” said Marino. “It’s a small, intimate space that can fit a hundred seats, depending on the performance. We are focusing on original work that we are cultivating with playwrights and artists, but we will do reinterpreted known works as well and we are always open to collaborations.”

First on the agenda is a comedy show by striking TV writers from the Apple TV+ show, The Problem with Jon Steward, next Saturday.

“We are going to keep it as busy as we can, with programming through December,” said Marino. “This is just a huge opportunity to elevate and be seen. Being associated with Industry City, allows us to flex artistic muscles that we haven’t been able to in a long time.”

BkONE was established in 2006. According to co-founder Tom Kane, in 1993, after he participated in his first production, The Life & Times Of Matthew Ryan, he dreamt of a place where artists were free to write, direct, star, sing, and make poetry to perform to throngs of uplifting organizers. 

He then made a detour in his career to work on Wall Street, but never gave up that dream. 

Now, thirteen years, and seven plays later, BkONE finally solidified with a long term space. 

The company has been nomadic since 2014, taking shows to different parks and other spots in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Their production of Romeo + Juliet at Industry City in the summer of last year was sold out. 

Two weeks ago, they finalized the deal to turn their former stage into their new home. 

“We felt like it would be a great space to convert into a black box-style performance space,” said Marino.

The opening event will coincide with Industry City’s Design Festival, the Brooklyn destination for NYCxDESIGN, a non-profit organization focused on creating equitable opportunities in design, providing platforms to promote work and foster a diverse next generation of designers. 

The festival is a 5-day long series of programs, maker pop-ups, art installations, outdoor design markets and retailer specialty items. Many Industry City studios and tenants will get to highlight their products and stores. 

For more coverage of art in Brooklyn, head to BrooklynPaper.com.