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Monday, June 18, 2007

Theater Obit

posted by on June 18 at 9:45 AM

Northwest Actors Studio: born in 1978, died 2007.

Phone’s disconnected, lease is up, the stuff’s almost all moved out.

The theater (probably best-known for Carlotta’s Late Night Wing-Ding) had been struggling for years and was seriously behind on its rent—more than just a few months, according to property manager Anne Michaelson, who has a long-term lease for the building (and owns significant properties in the Pike/Pine corridor, like the Wildrose and Sweat Box Yoga buildings).

Even Backstage Thrift, the second-hand store started to help save NWAS, has gone under.

Michaleson and the building owner are trying to find NWAS founder and director Ann Graham a little place to set up shop and keep up her acting school. But NWAS at 1100 East Pike Street is finished.

“In the spirit of our neighborhood culture, I’d like to get another theater in the second floor,” Michaelson said. She’s already talking to a few applicants including some (ahem) who might or might not be moving out of CHAC and who applied for, but didn’t get, one of the two two-year theater residencies Hugo House just handed out. (Those went to SiS, which does the Sex in Seattle serial soaps and NextStage, a new company.)

Hurrah to Michaelson and the building’s owner for having the (what’s the right word? guts? loyalty? temerity?) to try and get another theater in there.

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But NWAS at 1100 East Pike Street (which has done shows from Carlotta’s) is finished.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 18, 2007 9:59 AM

Oh crap... Roger Tang's Pork Filled Players had just moved into NWAS as their primary venue too! I hope they can find a new home base. Maybe Hugo House will take them back.

RIP, NWAS. I remember seeing my first theatre show after moving to Seattle there. It was the short lived comedy troupe Winnebago.

Posted by Gomez | June 18, 2007 10:14 AM


As of late, the studio hasn't been treating its supporters very well.

Posted by 2cents | June 18, 2007 10:48 AM


Hard times tend to do that.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 18, 2007 10:52 AM

Gomez: It's unlikely that PFP will be able to return to Hugo House on an on-going basis, since they've just signed on two theatre companies (SIS Productions, & I can't remember the other one) to a two year residency program that starts in January.

Posted by COMTE | June 18, 2007 11:07 AM

Anne Michaelson is awesome. The Pike/Pine neighborhood is very, very lucky that she's the real estate big wig around here.

Posted by Misty Brown | June 18, 2007 11:16 AM

that's a sweet little space...with an affordable rent for small companies...that's sure to end now...

Posted by michael strangeways | June 18, 2007 11:39 AM

COMTE: Well, at least they have a residency deal for next year. Hopefully, they can secure some space in the interim for the rest of 2007, because they've got shows planned for October, and probably other dates as well.

Posted by Gomez | June 18, 2007 11:55 AM

in europe, do theatre groups go out of existence because they can't pay market rates for rent?

no, they're subsidized by the ministry of culture. but we don't do that because we hate pleasure & love death.

another victim of american militarism.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 18, 2007 12:07 PM

who is the landlord raising CHAC/Annex's rent? do they own other arts spaces that we should start worrying about soon?

Posted by jj | June 18, 2007 1:17 PM

No, max, it's because there's a fundamental disconnect between commercial property owners' desire to maxmize their revenue in this market... and the means and needs of the population.

Speaking above the issue with flowery metaphors that bemoan the lack of socialism in our society doesn't help matters as much as speaking about it on concrete, more realistic terms.

So yeah, the actual problem is that the owners are greedy fucks who are taking advantage of the existing market.

Posted by Gomez | June 18, 2007 1:43 PM

@6 Anne is truly a godsend in our neighborhood. A landowner/landlord who loves the neighborhood the way she found it, not the way it will be when it's another Belltown (or worse). She restores and maintains her buildings rather than turn them into piles of ill-gotten cash.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | June 18, 2007 2:04 PM

Well, thanks for the kind words from folks. Pork Filled Players doesn't have a residency deal in place, but we'll muddle through. (Though for what was a pretty good theatre town, things have fallen on hard times in a lot of ways, and I'm not sure the wider public is aware of it....).

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