May 22, 2009
These days, when gloom and doom is all about and arts organizations are coping with shrinking budgets, layoffs and reduced seasons, it's always heartening to hear news of growth. A few months ago, Berkeley's Aurora Theatre started to build a new space adjacent to its current auditorium. Now, San Francisco's Fringe performance bastion, The EXIT Theatreplex, is about to add a 49-seat theatre and a classroom/rehearsal studio to its current assets which include the 80-seat EXIT Theatre mainstage, the 49-seat EXIT Stage Left, and the EXIT Café which serves food and beverages and doubles as a 35-seat theatre. The theatre also runs the 66-seat EXIT on Taylor, around the corner at 277 Taylor Street, where Cutting Ball Theater is currently in residence.
A couple of months ago, when I was at the EXIT to see a show, one of the venue's leaders gave my friends and I a sneak peak of the new space. Once home to a youth center, the 1,700 square foot area already looked in pretty good shape back then. I recall high ceilings and an airy feel.
Quite a bit of work needs to be done of course to prepare the new facility for use by theatre artists. EXIT Theatre has signed a 20-year lease with a 10-year option on the new space with their nonprofit landlord, the Chinatown Community Development Center. In order to complete the build-out of the newly acquired space, the EXIT has launched a $125,000 capital campaign over the next 18 months.
Ventriloquist Ron Coulter and his partner, Sid Star (pictured) will be hosting the first in a series of fundraising events for the theatre -- two performances of Soliloquy for Two on June 12 and 13. Tickets cost $15-20-25 and are available at (415) 673-3847 or www.theexit.org.