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North Fork Arts Center debuts at former Greenport Theatre

North Fork Arts Center

The iconic Greenport Theatre on Front Street came under new ownership at the end of last year.

Tony Spiridakis acquired the theatre as part of a unique deal with former AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan, the theater’s former owner.

In late 2019, Spiridakis moved completely out of Los Angeles, making Greenport his permanent residence. While spending his first winter in the idyllic North Fork village, he noted that the Greenport Theatre had shuttered its doors. So, Spiridakis worked with Sapan to fix the heat and get the theater up and running.

“When we opened the doors in the dead of winter, the place was packed. It showed everyone that there were a lot of people who craved cultural events happening, especially movies, and also just getting together as a community in the dead of winter,” Spiridakis said.

The terms of the agreement outlined by Sapan required that Spiridakis raise $1 million from the community to launch a nonprofit to run the theatre. Then, Sapan would donate the theatre valued at $5.5 million.

As such, the North Fork Arts Center is set to fully open its doors for the season on Memorial Day weekend.

By raising the money, Spiridakis also said he proved that the theatre is something that the community wants.

Through the founding of the North Fork Arts Center, Spiridakis said he wanted to create a place for community members to come together and enjoy entertainment, inspiration and education through the arts.

With the newly renovated theatre, Spiridakis has a diverse range of events on the calendar. These events include a three-week residency by the Brooklyn Ballet, a comedy show by Saturday Night Live comedian Colin Quinn, and the premier of the film Ezra, which was written and produced by Spiridakis himself on May 31.

Spiridakis said he hopes the North Fork Arts Center will be a cultural place for educational programming. He also wants the theatre to work with local schools for students interested in theater to help them gain experience.

“I think it's a desperately important thing for the community to have arts,” he said. “That’s my thesis and that's my main thing it will do”

Spiridakis founded the Manhattan Film Institute, a place for young actors, writers, and directors to bring their visions for movies to life. MFI creates about 25 movies each year, and the program opens doors to students making their way into the industry.

Maya Duclay is a news intern at WSHU for the spring of 2024.