The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0281 Thursday, 5 July 2012
Date: Thursday, July 5, 2012
Subject: Shakespeare Theater Company and Lansburgh Theater
[Editor’s Note: The following is from today’s New York Times. –Hardy]
JULY 4, 2012, 11:25 AM
In Rent Dispute, Shakespeare Theater Company Fights to Stay Put
By Theo Emery
Washington—Shakespeare Theater Company, one of the premiere ensembles in the nation’s capital and the recent winner of a Tony award for excellence in regional theater, has gone to court to fight its threatened eviction from its home of 20 years.
The Lansburgh Theater, a nonprofit that serves as the landlord for one of the sites where Shakespeare Theater performs, last year told the company that its annual rent there would jump to $480,000 from $70,000. When Shakespeare Theater refused to pay the increase, Lansburgh demanded that it vacate the site and that its managing director, Christopher Jennings, resign from the Lansburgh board. (The 451-seat Lansburgh space is where the company puts on its more intimate productions; its 774-seat main stage is now Sidney Harman Hall, which opened a few blocks away in 2007.)
After a testy back-and-forth between Shakespeare Theater and Lansburgh, Mr. Jennings and the company together sued the landlord on June 12 to stop the eviction, asserting that its actions are contrary to its mandate to support the company.
Lawyers for Lansburgh did not respond to phone or e-mail messages. In a March letter to Irvin B. Nathan, the District of Columbia attorney general, a Lansburgh lawyer, John K. Graham, said the landlord had “negotiated in good faith” with Shakespeare Theater but had been frustrated by the company’s unwillingness to pay more to keep the site viable.
“We do not know whether the parties will be able to resolve their differences,” Mr. Graham wrote.