July 11, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
State Senator Michael Gianaris has secured a $50,000 grant for a Hispanic arts theatre in Sunnyside.
The Thalia Spanish Theatre, located at 41-17 Greenpoint Ave., will use the funds to carry out upgrades to its sound systems. The center promotes Spanish/Latin American culture and heritage by hosting productions of theatre, music and dance.
The grant is being allocated via the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and comes after Gianaris pushed to fund and grow the council via the state budget process. NYSCA is tasked with preserving and advancing arts and culture across the state.
“The arts are the heart and soul of our community and I am proud to support groups like the Thalia Spanish Theatre and their colleagues across New York,” Gianaris said.
“I will fight to ensure the State Senate keeps investing in the arts and I am glad The New York State Council on the Arts is using some of the funding we secured right here in Queens.”
Angel Gil Orrios, the artistic and executive director of the Thalia Spanish Theatre, said the funding is much-needed and will be used to replace the theatre’s current sound system which is more than 25 years old.
“We are very happy to have received this capital grant from NYSCA,” Orrios said.
Thalia Spanish Theatre was established in 1977 by Silvia Brito, an actress and director, and is the only bilingual Hispanic theatre in the borough.
“For the past 47 years, Thalia Spanish Theatre has grown into a world-class cultural institution while maintaining community-based roots, collaborating with locally based artists and guests from around the globe,” Orrios said.
Thalia Spanish Theatre also offers theatre, movement and dance Workshops for children, acting and producing workshops for adults, and bilingual Hispanic dance workshops for youth, beginners and seniors.
“Every month is Hispanic Heritage Month at Thalia!” Orrios said.
Orrios said the theatre has produced more than 245 productons and has won around 250 awards for artistic excellence.
The awards, both local and international, include a Latin Grammy, a Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture, a Governor’s Arts Award, and two Encore Awards from the Arts and Business Council, Orrios said. Thalia Spanish Theatre has also scooped multiple ACE (Association of Latin Entertainment Critics), which he says are the equivalent to a Latin Tony award.
The theatre’s funding is part of NYSCA’s latest round of funding for capital projects for the arts across the state.
Mara Manus, the executive director of NYSCA, congratulated Thalia Spanish Theatre for being awarded the funds.
“This project will enable [Thalia Spanish Theatre] to continue delivering the measurable rewards of the arts to western Queens for decades to come,” Manus said.