On Sunday, May 20, 2012 a little bit of L.A. Theatre history was made. I was honored to be among a crowd of L.A. based 99-seat theatre producers meeting at the Kirk Douglas theatre to discuss the way forward in dealing with the various issues confronting the theatre business (and art) in Los Angeles.
A series of meetings of 99-seat producers
The meeting was the fourth in a series of caucuses where the various stakeholders raised their concerns, problems, challenges and formulae for success. Chief among the challenges addressed are those surrounding union contracts and complying with the rules under the 99-seat (waiver) plan. The series of meetings was coordinated and facilitated by the staff of the L.A. Stage Alliance
What came to pass at this meeting is quite remarkable. A room full of producers with a wide variety of concerns voted unanimously to form a new, independent organization, a trade association that will act as a producer’s league/council to speak with a single voice on behalf of all Los Angeles producers (not just 99-seat producers, but mid- and larger-sized producers as well).
The new group will work in tandem with the 99-seat Review Committee, the group that's been in place to deal with Actor's Equity Association since the settlement agreement that ended the so-called “Waiver Wars” of the late 1980's.
This is, of course, merely the first step down a long road. In fact, the organization doesn’t yet even have a name, leadership structure or mission statement. All of that will take more meetings, a great deal of discussion, and, I expect, some compromise by all concerned. Such is the nature of beginnings, and I for one look forward to being a part of the process.
If you’re a producer in Los Angeles, at any level of production, you will want to participate in these discussions. If you haven’t been invited to the meetings already held over the past few months, contact the L.A. Stage Alliance to make sure your information is added to the list.