Joyce Theater New York, New York

The transformation of this former 1941 movie theater into a dance performance hall has been hailed for its excellent atmosphere for artists and audiences alike.

  • Location

    New York, New York

  • Sector


  • Service


  • Client

    Elgin Theater Foundation Inc.

  • Status


  • Size

    50,000 SF
    475 Seats

The steeply ranked auditorium provides excellent sight-lines, and the compact seating arrangement is both intimate and engaging. The 475-seat theater was the first in New York City to cater to similar and medium-sized dance companies, providing an important outlet for growing, experimental, and modern dance companies.

The stage itself can undergo an instant makeover with an interchangeable floor that can be adapted from ballet to barefoot modern dance performances. The art deco façade of the entry was restored and enhanced with a bold neon-lit canopy that grabs the attention of passerby on 8th Avenue.

Bands of glass block, lit with white and blue neon, refract light and provide a dance of light on the exterior sidewalk. The geometric pattern of cast stone medallions was preserved and extended to enliven the entry wall.

The reconfigured theater, although modest in scale, has become a role model for what can be accomplished when paying attention to the needs and aspirations of the performers while enhancing the experience of the audience.


Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater New York: Award for Excellence, 1983
The Municipal Art Society of New York: Certificate of Merit, 1983
Art Deco Society of New York: Citation for Best Interpretive Reconstruction, 1983
The City Club of New York: Bard Award of Merit for Excellence in Architecture and Urban Design, 1982