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Brooklyn College performance series suddenly closes, fires staff • Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn College performance series suddenly closes, fires staff

“The Colonial Nutcracker” will be performed at Brooklyn Center for Performing Arts on Dec. 11.

It’s curtains for this beloved troupe.

Brooklyn College abruptly shuttered its Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts and ended the Brooklyn College Presents performance series last week, firing all of its full-time staff, due to delays in restoration work at its Whitman Hall venue, according to a spokesman.

“Given the continued closure of the theater, it is not able to offer rentals or a full set of arts programming to the community until work is complete,” said college rep Ernesto Mora in a statement. “As a result, last week, the College had to let go four staff members who ran BCBC-Brooklyn College Presents.”

In addition, four more staff were reassigned with reduced hours, according to the statement.

The more than six-decade-old performance series, formerly known as the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College, was established in 1954 and was one of the largest theatrical presenters in the borough, welcoming more than 70,000 people per year, including 46,000 school children, parents, and teachers.

Whitman Hall opened in 1955 as the centerpiece of Brooklyn College’s Performing Arts Center with a 2,400-seat theater. The restoration work on the venue started in June 2017 and was initially scheduled to last a year, but the college announced last week that it wouldn’t be finished until spring of 2019, according to a press release.

“It’s going to take more time to complete the upgrades, and we look forward to welcoming the public through our doors when restoration is finished,” said Maria Ann Conelli, dean of the college’s School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts, in the release.

The restored venue will offer the space for performances, according to Mora.

“Once restoration is complete and Whitman Hall reopens, the college looks forward to restarting rentals, schooltime offerings, and a larger slate of arts programming for the wider community,” he said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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