California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) profile:
The Latino Theater Company – Reviving the center of multicultural theater in downtown Los Angeles

Located on South Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles, the New Los Angeles Theater Center Project was one of the first multi-million dollar projects to be funded by CCHE in Round One of its funding cycles. This exciting CCHE renovation project was completed in the spring of 2008 and the four-theater multi-use space is now being used for a variety of programs including culturally diverse plays, dance, art exhibitions and social events.

The original Los Angeles Theater Center (LATC), created in 1982 from the historic Security National Bank Building and an adjacent parking lot, was operated by a non-profit group until 1991 when, due to financial failure, the City of Los Angeles took it over. In subsequent years, the Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Department used the complex as a rental venue.

The Latino Theater Company (LTC), the organization that received the CCHE grant, saw the urban center’s potential to host diverse cultural arts. The LTC is responsible for successfully completing the four million dollar renovation of what is now the New LATC. On March 3, 2006, LTC received funding approval from CCHE for rehabilitating the theater center as a multi-cultural performing arts center and cultural museum. The four theaters within the New LATC contain from 90 to 498 seats with over 80,000 square feet for performance, and administrative and gallery space.

Saving the old – improving the new

CCHE funded several striking improvements to the theater complex such as the elegant handrails and glass around the stairs and second floor terrace, moving the central staircase to open up more space in the grand lobby and installing new bamboo wood flooring. Intrinsic to the historic bank building were several beautiful and unique features that were maintained in the new design including the granite façade and inside - a marble wall, stained glass window ceiling, and ornate plaster cornice.

Other improvements involved basic building systems - generator, elevator repairs, improved fire and safety systems - as well as technical theater systems, refurbished theater seating, improved restrooms and dressing rooms, upgraded lighting, and the conversion of a basement space into a well-lit gallery for showcasing art and cultural displays.

Cultural Roundtable rounds out the CCHE Project

The LTC, with its strong focus on culture, has invited all cultural and ethnic groups in the region to create a “Cultural Roundtable” for participation in the New LATC. This group is composed of representatives from LTC, Playwrights’ Arena, Robey Theatre Company (African-American), Cedar Grove Productions OnStage (Asian), Culture Clash (Latino), and American Indian Dance Theater. The University of California at Los Angles (UCLA) School of Theatre, Film and Television serves in a program advisory capacity. LTC Artistic Director, Jose Luis Valenzuela, is also a drama professor at UCLA where he heads the MFA Directing Program.

A place for the future

In addition to providing much needed rehearsal and performance space to established theater and dance companies, one of the goals of the New LATC is to promote young and experimental artists by providing them with opportunities to develop audiences and improve their artistic skills in a supportive, multi-cultural environment. Considering the LTC philosophy, it follows that for Los Angeles residents and visiting cultural adventurers alike, this latest renaissance and transformation of the LATC into the New LATC has resulted in the place “…where the convergence of people, cultures and ideas gives birth to our future.” (Mission page on LTC website – www.latinotheater.com 6-3-08) The completed CCHE Project has once again become a cultural fixture in the downtown Los Angeles community and an anchor for future revitalization efforts in the area.

For information on the Latino Theater Company and the New LATC visit their website at www.latinotheater.com or call (213) 489-0994.

For more information on the CCHE Project, contact Project Manager Tony Planchon at (916) 651-9795.


  

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