News for September/October 2004:



LOS ANGELES -- The premiere season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City has been announced by Gordon Davidson, artistic director of Center Theatre Group's acclaimed Mark Taper Forum.

The Kirk Douglas Theatre will be the home of CTG's new play development and youth theatre program. Construction is currently underway to convert a former historic movie house on Washington Blvd. into a 300-seat theatre. Wells Fargo Bank recently donated $1 million to help fund the new theatre, which will launch its first season in early November.

Six world premieres have been scheduled: A Perfect Wedding by Charles L. Mee (directed by Davidson); The Paris Letter by Jon Robin Baitz; Apollo-Part l: Lebensraum, written and directed by Nancy Keystone; A Distant Shore by Chay Yew; Flight by Charlayne Woodard; and The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, a children's musical by Doug Cooney.

"An intimate house this size allows us to really support our developmental process," said Davidson. "We have been peripatetic for too long, presenting our New Works Festival, our full staged Taper Too plays, and even our earlier New Theatre for Now events, at 99-seat houses all over the city. We finally have a permanent home that allows our audiences to grow, too. This gives us such freedom. It makes it even more viable to take risks and to challenge both our own creativity and that of our audiences. There's just something magical about a theatre this size, where even the seats in the last row are terrific, making the theatregoing experience even more of a communal event."

Davidson added, "I want to mention that all of the CTG staff and board of directors have worked hard to make the opening of the Douglas Theatre possible...Of course, none of this could have happened without the generous gift of $2.5 million from Kirk and Anne Douglas. I will forever be indebted to them for their generosity. And to Michael Douglas for his contribution in honor of his father. It is their support, along with Wells Fargo, the Culkver City Redevelopment Agency and other significant donations that put into motion the transformation of this former movie house, the Culver Theatre, into a live theatre venue."

Architect Steven Ehrlich planned the new theatre, aided by the design firm of Sussman/Prejza & Co. and Theatre Projects Consultants. In keeping with the theatre's historic status, the exterior will combine contemporary aesthetic sensibilities with the Streamlined Moderne style of the 1940s, when the theatre was originally built. The Kirk Douglas Theatre will also house a 1500-sq. ft. space that will be used as a classroom for a series of special programs for children, and as a room for workshops and rehearsals. The main stage has an "end-stage" configuration, which leaves the performance area essentially open and allows each team of theatre artists to decide how to set the action of the play.

Douglas Theatre joins the 745-seat Taper and 2000 seat Ahmanson theatres under the CTG umbrella.

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