LOS ANGELES, CA – Marking the end of an era of over twenty years, where it has hosted hundreds of critically acclaimed, award-winning and fan favorite shows, legendary theater space studio/stage officially turns off the lights on April 30.
Converted into a theater space in 2004 by former operator Bill Sterritt, the venue has been run by current managing company The StageCrafts since 2017. In 2019, the company negotiated a five-year lease with the then-owners that expires in April. According to Gregory Crafts, co-owner of StageCrafts, the hope was to once again extend, but a lot has changed in the area over the past five years. The building is now owned by a development group who immediately started converting local furniture stores and other rundown businesses into art galleries.
“We were told when they first came that it was important to have a theater on the block as creating space for the arts was the cornerstone of their public plans for the area,” Crafts said. “Sadly, when it came time to renegotiate the lease, we were unable to come to an agreement on a new monthly price for the space. We’re not sure what’s going to happen to the space after we leave. We hope it will remain some sort of art space, but we will no longer have any control over that.”
Over the years, studio/stage became not just a home for Theatre Unleashed, the company Greg and his wife and co-owner Jenn Crafts helped found, but also for dozens of other artists and theatre companies, including SPQR Stage Company, Fierce Backbone, Brimmer Street, Flat Tire and more. During StageCrafts’ run, it also became a top destination for artists during the Hollywood Fringe Festival, hosting a number of its best shows in all genres.
Even with the closing of their home, StageCrafts has no intention of slowing down! The company continues to run three other venues for rentals year-round: The Madnani Theater, Howard Fine Acting Studio and Theatre of Arts. StageCrafts also just signed a temporary lease agreement with the 50-seat black box theater at 6440 Santa Monica Blvd., in the heart of Theatre Row. The space has gone by many names over the years, including The New Collective, The Emerald Arthouse and Limbic Arthouse. The lease for the space, which will once again be fully operational and ready for bookings this week, goes through July, switching to a month-to-month contract after that. Thus calling the space by the company’s pop-up brand name: The Hobgoblin Playhouse.
“StageCrafts uses this moniker for when we breathe new life into old theaters and abandoned performance spaces, inhabiting and rehabilitating them on a short-term basis,” Crafts said. That includes spaces like the former Paul G. Gleason Theater on Hollywood Blvd. and The Arena Stage. “The Hobgoblin hasn’t inhabited a space for a few years now, but that’s the nature of this type of mischievous faerie; they pop up, cause a little whimsical trouble, and then disappear back into the aether without a trace.”
Jenn Crafts said the company is also exploring options for buying––rather than leasing––a new permanent home in the coming years. “Since so many theatre spaces have been lost to rising rents in Los Angeles, StageCrafts feels that the best way to save and maintain the thriving arts community is for leaders in the community itself to own and run spaces without being dependent upon landlords who are not involved in the arts,” she said.
StageCrafts is also thrilled to announce two key partnerships for this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. The company will help run performance venues at both Javista Coffee Hollywood, a quirky and beloved coffee shop with a petite cabaret stage, and the stages at Rogue Machine’s The Matrix Theater, both its beautiful 99-seat proscenium thrust and its 30-seat secondary stage upstairs, a hidden gem on the local theatre scene.
“While the closing of studio/stage marks the end of an era, there are many more exciting opportunities to come, and we’ll continue our mission to providing a home for local artists looking for a place to share their work,” said Greg Crafts. “Between the return of the Hobgoblin, our ongoing ventures and our new partnerships, we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us!”
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