The Inwood-born Lin-Manuel Miranda is synonymous with New York City. In his early years at the historic Hunter College Elementary and High School in the Upper East Side, he crossed paths with other future artists from New York destined for fame. Later, Miranda’s hit Broadway show Hamilton was a blockbuster, placing the director on the world stage. At its peak, the performance grossed $600,000 a week.
Since his directorial debut, Miranda has undertaken a slew of philanthropic projects and starred in commercials. On October 25, Miranda attended a ceremonial groundbreaking in his home neighborhood of Inwood, Manhattan with New York Governor Kathy Hochul and architects from WORKac to celebrate The People’s Theatre: Centro Cultural Inmigrante, a forthcoming $37 million, 19,000-square-foot Immigrant Performing Arts Center.
Lin’s father, Luis A. Miranda Jr., and their charity the Miranda Family Fund have been influential in its creation, as well as the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), NewYork-Presbyterian, and the NYCEDC. The city of New York has floated $24.4 million while the rest is coming from private backers. Upon completion, the People’s Theatre will have a flexible, mid-size theater, a small performance space, rehearsal studios, a soundproof practice room, and gallery space.
“It is with tremendous pride that we break ground today on The People’s Theatre: Centro Cultural Inmigrante, here in Northern Manhattan,” said Luis A. Miranda Jr. and Lin-Manuel Miranda. “It is no secret our family loves this neighborhood. This is because Northern Manhattan is a vibrant, hardworking community of diverse creators, makers, movers and shakers – all looking to share their stories. Theater is about community, offering a space where art, culture, and identity converge. Our uptown neighborhood is more than ready to have a permanent home for its theater practitioners, to nurture and showcase countless generations of storytellers and stories to come.”
The new The People’s Theatre: Centro Cultural Inmigrante is located at the ground level of a building at 407 West 206th Street. Its mission is amplifying “the voices of New York City’s diverse immigrant communities and cultivate work by local artists and arts organization” a press release stated.
The theatrical performances that will take place there will center immigrant experiences in New York City. Live music, dance performances, film screenings, and other civic and community events will take place in its halls. The People’s Theatre will also partner with the New York Public Library (NYPL) to provide space for research and literary programming.
“As the largest Latine theater in New York City and the city’s first Dominican-managed cultural institution, the People’s Theatre Project’s new home will be more than a performing arts center – it will be a tribute to the diverse artists, cultures, and communities that define our great state,” Governor Hochul said. “New York has always cherished its diversity and inclusiveness, and through our support for timeless institutions like this one, we always will. I will continue working with my partners in government and the arts community to find ways to celebrate the history, creativity, and culture of all New Yorkers, and I look forward to cutting the ribbon on this beautiful space in a few short years.”
The project is expected to host 28,000 people annually. It’s set for completion in 2026.