It happened so quickly. Late November 2015, LOFT Ensemble received an unexpected notice to vacate, after the downtown Los Angeles building that houses the company had been sold. The new owners would be gutting the property and everyone would have to move out. So LOFT began pounding the pavement in early January to find a new home.
“We just didn’t want to wait for that 30 day letter to arrive in the mail. We wanted to be in control as to how it was going to happen for us. You can’t just sit and wait and wait and wait. Because then suddenly, you’re out of time and then you’re homeless.” ~ Bree Pavey Production Manager
According to LOFT Ensemble Production Manager, Bree Pavey, so much of the Downtown Arts District has been torn down already and there really isn’t any intimate theatre there. The company began their search for a new location downtown, also in Hollywood, North Hollywood, Burbank, and West Hollywood. The Coast Playhouse was actually a consideration, although the timing was not right. The space was in limbo while they were looking and by the time the city bought it, LOFT had signed a new lease.
On April 21, 2016, LOFT Ensemble officially signed their lease and paid a deposit on their new home at 13442 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks (previously the site of the LA Comedy Connection). They will move over on May 1st as soon as the landlord makes some modifications. But construction is under way and the company is excited about the opportunities the new location will afford them. They will close out the downtown local with Wanting Miss Julie which will have its final performance on May 8.
Once limited by maxed out electrical and prior agreements with other organizations with whom they had originally shared the downtown location, the new space will open up a whole new level of production value and set design and will absolutely triple the power for lighting and projections.
The new theater will house a single stage and will accommodate LOFT’s normally full season of six shows/six week runs per year.
A soft opening will be centered around LOFT’s Hollywood Fringe submission which will also run three weekends in June at the new space.
The Grand Opening of the new LOFT Ensemble on Ventura Boulevard will be a long awaited production of King Lear starring Leon Russom in the title role. Previews for the show will be on July 2-3, 2016. King Lear will open officially for the public on July 9, 2016.
“Our time in downtown has been so significant in terms of our growth and the support that we got not only from downtown but also from the 99-seat intimate theatre community. It’s been tremendous. And when the move was sprung on us, that support materialized in a way that we would never have expected. We feel enormous gratitude for our intimate theatre family and our families at Sacred Fools and The Blank and Theatre of NOTE. So many people have come out to make sure that we landed on our feet. We all get really choked up when we think about it. But we are really excited to see what’s next, to meet our new neighbors, in our new neighborhood and to bring our very unique, dark edgy brand, unusual theatre to a new home.” ~ Bree Pavey Production Manager