A sandbox is a place for kids to play and create. With a scene shop at one end and a rehearsal space at the other, The Sand Box is a place for adults to do the same: to create sets, props, and blocking all in one facility. It's tailored to small theater and film companies, and is part of founder Sandy Yaklin’s ongoing experiment in sharing and reusing resources.
Update: As January 15, we have reached our goal!! We cannot thank you enough for your support of this space and the ideas behind it. We will keep the Kickstarter running through its conclusion on February 7th.
Any donations you should choose to make from here on WILL NOT go to a hot tub, they will go directly into offsetting The Sand Box's rent, utilities, and insurance in the coming months - which will help us maintain our low rehearsal and shop rental rates for the entire arts community.
The creators of The Sand Box are members of Gideon Productions, a critically acclaimed independent theater company that has produced award-winning new plays in New York City since 2000. When Sandy, Gideon’s resident set designer, urgently needed to find a new design and building space – particularly given the high price of real estate in NYC – she got creative. Gideon Productions had recently partnered with Boomerang Theatre Company and Flux Theatre Ensemble to form the “BFG” alliance to collectively rent the Secret Theatre in Queens, so it made sense to reach out to them and Vampire Cowboys about sharing a storage, shop, and rehearsal space for future productions. Before long, this idea had expanded into a vision of a community space that could be available at low rental rates to a variety of New York-based independent theater and film companies. The result is a unique resource located in the heart of the increasingly popular Long Island City.
Through a great deal of effort and use of personal funds by the founders, we have managed to get The Sand Box initially up and running. We’ve moved in and, thanks to the help of several generous volunteers, built the walls needed along with chop-saw & work tables. But we have a ways to go in order to complete The Sand Box facility and ensure that its green, artist –friendly mission can be maintained over the long haul. Your donations will not only support the completion of the space, but will vitally also offset our cost so that we can rent the shop and rehearsal spaces at below market prices.
Here’s what your donations will both buy and help pay off:
- Cushioned flooring for the rehearsal room so that people can rehearse fights and choreography;
- Materials to build a cabinet to store the sheet goods companies need to build flats and platforms;
- Braces to build shelves to hold lumber;
- Chain link fence for storage;
- Lockable tool cabinet;
- Hardware to mount backdrops for photography;
- Curtains to block light and sound in the rehearsal room;
- A handheld sawzall for cutting tough stuff; and
- A hand truck for load-ins and load-outs. (Ours was stolen, and anyone who’s hefted a heavy set-piece knows what a vital tool these are!)
All levels of donation – indeed, any donation – will help to complete – and improve! – The Sand Box space and make it affordable for New York’s independent artists and companies. As independent theater artists ourselves, we know the challenges people like us are facing, and we think The Sand Box could help. Both New York independent theater and film can benefit greatly, and, with your help, we can make it happen. Thanks for reading this, and if you can't donate, we hope you can check out and use The Sand Box.
The 1200-square foot Sand Box boasts a scene shop and a rehearsal space just one subway stop outside of Manhattan. It’s located at 44-02 11th Street, Suite 502, Long Island City, NY 11101 just blocks from the Court Square E, M, 7, and G stops.
Although this Kickstarter push is to finish equipping the Sand Box, the shop already has many tools. We have a chop saw with a 12 foot-long table and portable table, circ and jig saws. We also have an air compressor with compatible staple and nail guns, routers, sanders, drills/drivers, grinders and various hand tools. The shop has a 22 by 12-foot workspace with a 10+ foot ceiling and a large work-table. Renters will also be able to paint in the shop, and there’s a huge slop sink just a short walk down the hall.
Thanks to the building’s two sizable freight elevators, companies using The Sand Box to build and rehearse their shows could work there right up until tech week and then load out their new set-pieces with ease. The closer freight elevator is near The Sand Box, and is available 24/7. The giant one is run by an operator from 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. Part of the purpose for our funding drive is to be able to offer the scene shop at a low rental rate of $75 a day.
The 16 by 17-foot rehearsal space gets a lot of additional light from big windows looking out onto LIC. The rehearsal area is carpeted, and a number of chairs, benches, and tables are available for use. (Bonus: there’s a white wall along one side that works great for headshot and production photography.) Women and Men’s bathrooms are a few steps outside our suite. We will work with companies to temporarily store set pieces and props to use until they load into their theater space. As with the scene shop, we hope to be able to offer the low rental rate of $10 per hour for the rehearsal space, as well as package options for renting the shop and rehearsal space together.
We have five storage units that have been rented by our resident companies: Boomerang Theatre Company, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Gideon Productions and Vampire Cowboys.
THE GREEN PART
We hate throwing stuff away – especially when new shows and films are going into production constantly and might be able to use that very item you’re about to put in the dumpster! Right now we can only store a limited amount of set pieces and props, but we hope to expand our capacity over the next few years with your help. In the meanwhile, The Sand Box is serving as the home base for the Shared Independent Theater List (a.k.a. the Sh.I.T. List), a website that companies and artists can use to sell/rent/barter/give away their set pieces, furniture, props and costumes. The wonderful LIT Fund has generously given us a grant to underwrite the project, and we expect to launch the website by early Spring 2014. So why are we mentioning this in a Kickstarter appeal? Good question: the LIT Fund grant covers the creation of the website, not the physical facility. With your help, we can give this green enterprise – which could save small companies a lot of money – a starter home. For more information about the Sh.I.T. List, check out the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnQBcUJyIX0.
The Sand Box is just the beginning. If our experiment works, we hope to expand our facilities. We’d like to offer storage spaces to more small companies to make it easier for them to build, share and recycle theater goods. We’d also like to be able to house items available through the Sh.I.T. List. We may be small companies individually, but together we can be mighty.
Risks and challenges
The Sand Box has come a long way in a short time. We have passed the big initial hurdles: renting the space, securing insurance, and putting the basic facilities in place. If you can help us defray these significant start-up costs, we can focus on our next two crucial challenges:
First, we need to market the space to the independent theater and film communities and bring in steady rental income (again, at below market prices). We need to make artists and companies aware that The Sand Box is here, that it's easy to get to, and that our rental rates are intentionally low to support independent theater and film. We are already preparing some marketing initiatives, but you can help by spreading the word.
Second, we need to make sure the space is a viable economic entity over the long term. Importantly, this does not mean we are seeking to make this space a profitable enterprise. We are committed to covering the expenses of The Sand Box for at least a year to give us time to grow. What it does mean is that we do eventually want to move toward a situation where rental income is covering our basic running costs. Beyond that, we would eventually like to be able to pay Sandy a small salary, as she is unable to work full time while maintaining The Sand Box's operations. As our first year progresses, we'll reshape our model and figure out ways to bring in income, such as, hosting classes, readings for our resident companies, private music and acting classes, networking and community development parties, and other events along these lines.
We will work hard to make The Sand Box a continuing place to build and play even as it renews and reforms. Right now the space is functional. With your help it can be extraordinary.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)