Atwater Village is already known for its community arts classes, entrepreneurs and innovative combinations of businesses within communities. Until recently, however, theater was represented mostly by the Atwater Playhouse, a method-based production company and school. Soon it will be joined by not one, but two new theaters on their street: The Ensemble Studio Theatre – LA and Circle X just moved into the Atwater Village Theatre, located on Casitas Avenue.
There’s a theater on Casitas? EST-LA Managing Director Roderick Menzies explains:
In October of 2009, through serendipitous circumstances, EST-LA Artistic Director Gates McFadden met Avo Tavitian, a real estate developer…. What was once a pillow factory has now been transformed into two 99-seat theatres that are already running workshops productions, and will be fully equipped by the time we open our first full production: Mlle. God, by Nicholas Kazan.
There are a number of wonderful companies in the same buildings, including art studios, architects, yoga, pilates, photographers, writing centers, and a growing number of theaters. A full list can be found at http://www.casitasave.com/tenants.html. From the Casitas Culture website:
CasitasCulture is aimed at turning Atwater Village’s Casitas Ave into a culture hub: an intimate and cooperative community of creative people…. the goal is to animate these spaces, to fill them with action and play and invention, and to open up channels of exchange that will ensure the community’s growth.
When asked about their relationship with the Atwater Village community, Menzies elaborates that “neighbors are curious about the latest developments on Casitas… we are turning our attention to an outreach initiative to help our neighbors get to know us… laid the foundation for our first educational outreach program at Atwater Avenue Elementary School. We also have plans to offer street performances at the Farmers’ Market and participate in other Atwater events.”
Representatives from EST-LA’s publicity and producing staff have already attended Atwater Village Neighborhood Council Outreach meetings (full disclosure: I know because I am Outreach Chair of the AVNC) and arranged for some joint marketing and meals with local businesses, including Canele on Glendale Blvd.
EST-LA’s latest new work is We Used to be Bad, running October 21 through 31. More information can be found here.
The Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Avenue.
Cindy Marie Jenkins is a Storyteller and Coach based in Atwater Village. She also contributes to The Inspired Classroom, Bitter Lemons, and her Storyteller blog, where you can find folklore related to the soon-to-be-published novel TEN.