The Old Zoo is now officially a rental venue for the Department of Recreation and Parks as Shakespeare moves in permanently. Not too surprising since Symphony in the Glen has been stumping to build a band shell on the site for some time.
The good news is that this means (very) minimal revenue to the department. Bad news is that another public picnic area becomes off limits to varying degrees to the tax-paying public who already put unbelievable pressure on the public picnic areas during holidays. Crowds forced the closure of the park this past weekend on Easter for a few hours when no more space to park or picnic was available.
From the LA Times.
L.A.'s Independent Shakespeare Co. moving to Griffith Park
One of Los Angeles' most popular summer Shakespeare companies is about to get a major venue upgrade.
Since 2004, the Independent Shakespeare Co. (ISC) has performed at Hollywood's Barnsdall Art Park, where it has had to compete with helicopter traffic from neighboring hospitals and other forms of noise pollution. Starting this summer, the company will make its new home in Griffith Park near the site of the former zoo on the park's east side. The move will enable the company to accommodate bigger crowds for its free, outdoor productions of Shakespeare's plays. David Melville, the company's managing director, said he hopes to fit in 700 people for each performance, versus Barnsdall's approved capacity of just 485.
ISC estimates it attracted 12,000 people to its productions in Barnsdall last summer. The company often had to turn away people in past seasons, which prompted its search for a new venue. The residency at Barnsdall has been rocky. At one point, it came close to losing its place on the park's south lawn after inspectors demanded a special permit. The company had to bring in a new stage at great expense to meet their requirements. Melville said that the company has already received approval for the move to Griffith Park, though it still has to go through a permitting process for various technical elements. In the end, ISC will have to shell out more money to cover costs associated with the bigger digs. This season, the company expects to spend $180,000, which covers actors' pay, equipment as well as "minimal" rent to the Department of Recreation & Parks.
Read the rest at the LA Times.