African Grove theatre looking from the stage to the audience

Orchestra ensemble room

Iris Cantor Theatre

The Paulson Center provides NYU’s music and performing arts programs with state-of-the-art, purpose-built spaces for its music and theatre students, including a 350-seat, professional-level proscenium, fly-loft theatre, and the University’s first ensemble rehearsal and performance room.

Performance Spaces

Jump to:   African Grove Theatre   |   Iris Cantor Theatre   |   Ensemble Rehersal and Performance Room, 620   |   Theatre C

African Grove Theatre

In 1821, a retired West Indian ship steward named William Henry Brown saved enough capital to found the African Grove Theatre. Locating his playhouse in what is now Greenwich Village, Brown’s aim as a free man of color was to provide a safe place for African Americans to enjoy theatrical entertainments. The acting company of the African Grove was in residence not only in this general area of the city, but on Mercer Street, between Bleecker and Houston-- it resided on the exact footprint of where the African Grove Theatre at NYU stands today at the Paulson Center in commemoration of our illustrious predecessors and their achievement. For a few brief years, the African Grove Theatre made theatrical history and American history as our country’s first functioning theater managed by Black artists employing Black actors to perform entertainments as varied as Shakespeare and satirical musicals for audiences of all races in the burgeoning and busy heart of New York City. The original African Grove Theatre was a unique model for people of color—artists and audiences—to participate in privileged, mainstream culture; a provocative concept that resonates up through the present moment.

Paired with the sister space, Theatre C, The African Grove makes up the active Laboratories and Classrooms of the Grad Acting Program and the Graduate Department of Design for Stage and Film.

The African Grove Theatre was made possible through the generous support of Ceci Chan.

Recommended Access:
Enter at 38 W. Houston Street and Greene St. (SW corner) and take the elevators or stairs to the fourth floor.

Iris Cantor Theatre

The Iris Cantor Theatre (the ICT) is the home of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama and Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions. Both departments present fully realized mainstage productions and the theater serves as a training ground for students seeking a career in the performing arts industry. The ICT is the first NYU professional proscenium theater with full technical amenities such as sound, projection, lighting, fly rail system, and automatic staging. Seating capacity is approximately 350 seats in a raked continental theater seating configuration throughout three levels.

The theatre lobby will open one hour before scheduled performances.  Audience seating will begin approximately 30 minutes before scheduled performances.

The box office at the theatre entrance will open approximately one hour before scheduled performances.


Recommended Access:
Enter at 38 W. Houston Street and Greene St. (SW corner) to find the theatre lobby.

Ensemble Rehearsal and Performance Room, 620

620, the Paulson Center's ensemble rehearsal and performance suite, is a state-of-the-art room designed to optimize a range of acoustic performance requirements, presented against the dramatic backdrop of the New York City skyline.

The room will open for audience seating 30 minutes before scheduled performances.

Performances in this venue are typically invite-only.  Your student will be able to share more prior to a performance.

Recommended Access:
Enter at 181 Mercer entrance the corner of Mercer St. and Bleecker St., take the elevator or stairs to the sixth floor, then follow signage.

Theatre C

This innovative space offers state-of-the-art live performance capabilities in a facility that provides maximum flexibility for students to experiment and create the next generation of collaborative theatre practices. Its unique design expands beyond theatrical production for use as a laboratory for students and faculty experimenting in classes for voice, speech, combat, lighting, sound and projection, painting, and much more. Theatre C will also be used for creative collaborations with other departments across Tisch examining the intersection of live performance and new technologies and artistic practices.

Paired with the sister space The African Grove Theatre, Theatre C makes up the active Laboratories and Classrooms of the Grad Acting Program and the Graduate Department of Design for Stage and Film.


Recommended Access:
Enter at 38 W. Houston Street and Greene St. (SW corner) and take the elevator or stairs to the fourth floor.


For general questions about the Paulson Center, please contact