by Elizabeth Haggard
Los Angeles Ambassador
I think Los Angeles is an amazing city in many ways. It has incredible museums, beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, historic concert venues, top notch restaurants and striking architecture, among many other qualities. It also has numerous beautiful theatres, talented actors, capable crews and creative writers. All of those resources, however, somehow do not lead to enough consistently successful theatre to support a city of this magnitude.
Don’t get me wrong, though. We have a plethora of spaces and theatre companies. On the larger scale we have The Pantages, The Center Theatre Group and The Geffen. We also have quite a few mid-sized theatres like Anteaus, A Noise Within, The Odyssey and Pasadena Playhouse. Dozens of smaller guerilla-style theatres scatter the city and offer theatre aficionados the opportunity to stretch their muscles in-between film gigs. Just because all of these exist, however, does not mean they have found a successful business model. The one thing all of these theatres have in common is they struggle. Struggle to get audience members in seats, find financial backers, keep budgets balanced and cast shows around top talent’s never ending film conflicts. The current model isn’t working for our city and it’s becoming increasingly clear we need an atypical model in order for theatre to flourish.
My hope with Transient Theater is we can explore and potentially discover a new model for producing theatre. It may not work perfectly this time and I’m sure there will be plenty of bumps along the road, but if we can find the backing to test this out, we may very well discover something new and exciting that can eventually be fine-tuned into something sustainable. Transient Theater has the promise to revitalize a corner of Los Angeles theatre and inspire local professionals to take their own projects on the road. In the very least, perhaps this model will work within LA, a city so spread out that an East-side dweller like myself may never make it to Santa Monica to see a show and someone from Sherman Oaks avoids regular ventures downtown. By choosing scripts that require little production value and rely on small casts of strong actors, moving from Santa Monica to The Valley to Downtown to Silverlake all within one run may be the perfect way to reach local audiences within our city. Hopefully if we can make this work on a national level we can consider reformatting it to revitalize theatre within Los Angeles. After all, wouldn’t it be great to see a show ten minutes from your home?