Elephant Theatre Company going on hiatus for 2012
The Elephant Theatre Company -- one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood's Theatre Row district -- has suspended operations for the 2012 season due largely to financial difficulties and will undergo an internal reorganization, company leaders said Tuesday.
"We're in a challenging position to continue," said David Fofi, a founder and artistic director of the Elephant. He said the company has been surviving largely on box-office revenue and fundraisers, and said that it has never received a grant.
Founded in the mid-'90s, the Elephant specializes in new American plays, often with edgy themes. The small non-profit organization is the resident theater company of the Elephant Stages building, located on Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.
In 2010, the company partnered with the LAByrinth Theater Company of New York, producing works by playwrights such as Stephen Adly Guirgis.
"We could have kept going the way we had been, scraping by," said Lindsay Allbaugh, a co-artistic director of the Elephant. "But we would not have been able to last much longer without reorganizing and restructuring."
She said the company is looking to hire a managing director who will oversee fundraising and grant applications. It also plans to restructure the board of directors.
In recent seasons, the Elephant has mounted four stage productions a year. The company has an operating budget of approximately $75,000 to $85,000 per year, according to Allbaugh. The Elephant has a seven-member board, including three company officers and four outside individuals.
"We're trying to retool the whole theater company to raise money and get the kind of grants we need," said Rick Pagano, a board member and casting director for films and television.
"We want to direct the resources we have toward a long-term goal."
It is the second local stage troupe to announce a hiatus in the past 12 days. Reprise Theatre Company, which produces musicals at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, said Feb. 17 that it had canceled its final show of the season and would be exploring a new business model.
-- David Ng
Photo: A scene from the Elephant's 2011 production of "Love Sick" with Dominic Rains and Alexandra Hoover. Credit: Salvator Xuereb