Are we about to lose two theatres?

It’s not a Halloween trick. Two theatre companies, facing opposition to their presence, are preparing legal defenses in order to protect their rights to remain in their DC locations. Here is now you can help them.


The first is Spooky Action Theater, Richard Henrich’s adventurous theatre company, which operates out of a space which Henrich personally built into a theatre in the Universalist National Memorial Church. Julie Jacobson, in an email received this morning, clearly outlined the situation:

Reckless, now playing at Spooky Action Theater

“Spooky Action, the theatre company located at 1810 16th St in the basement of the Universalist National Memorial Church, is facing losing its space due to neighborhood opposition. It’s hard to understand why this Dupont Circle neighborhood that is home to Theatre J, Keegan, Studio, and Constellation at the Source Theatre would not support Spooky Action but the theatre needs to present its case to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in November and the Board of Zoning Adjustment in December (in order to obtain permission to use the church).

“As Richard Henrich, the artistic director, wrote, “To my knowledge it is primarily (perhaps only) a single neighbor who objects to our audience members walking in front of and along side his town house. If we can show the majority of the community supports our relatively small operation and sees us as adding value to the neighborhood, the ANC and the Zoning Board will almost certainly vote in favor of the required variance.”

She concludes: “It would be very helpful if we all wrote a note of support for the theatre, touching on its value for the neighborhood. I don’t have to tell you the added amenity cultural destinations bring to an area, much less the revenue they contribute to local merchants and restaurants.”

It’s hard to imagine a more considerate neighbor than Richard Henrich. To alleviate any neighborhood parking problems, he has rented a parking lot a few blocks from the church for Friday and Saturday nights. To make sure arriving and departing patrons don’t disturb his neighbors, he changed the entrance to the theatre to its main entrance on 16th Street.

Whether or not you have seen Craig Lucas’ dark Christmas comedy Reckless, starring Mundy Spears, which closes this weekend, or any of Spooky Action’s other productions, we hope you won’t let Richard Henrich stand alone as he takes his case to the ANC and the Zoning Board.

Let him stand, armed with your letters and emails of support. Theater J, Keegan Theatre, and DC Theatre Scene have already committed to writing letters of support. We hope you will join them as soon as you can.

You may email Richard Henrich at  [email protected]. Or mail your letter to Richard Henrich,  1810 16th St, NW, WDC 20009-3304. If you have questions, you can call Richard Henrich at Spooky Action, 202-248-0301.


The Lansburgh Theatre

As we reported in June, Shakespeare Theatre Company is being threatened with eviction from its 20 year residence at the Lansburgh Theatre on 7th Street NW. As first reported by the Washington Post, it’s landlord, Lansburgh Theatre, Inc (LTI),  seeks to raise the yearly rent from $70,000, to $480,000 or face eviction.

An online petition has been started in support of STC, in which STC’s Chris Jennings explains the illegality of the landlord’s action. “The Lansburgh complex developer gained building rights in the first place by donating the Theatre to STC, and as long as STC does its charitable duties, the landlord cannot interfere with its sole right to use it. Unable to resolve this dispute, STC has filed a lawsuit and intends to continue its performances.”

DC Theatre Scene and over 2000 others have signed the petition which gets delivered to LTI. We hope you will consider adding your voice as well. Click here to view the petition.



Lorraine Treanor About Lorraine Treanor

Lorraine Treanor has been editor of DC Theatre Scene since 2006. She has produced plays and concerts in her hometown of Chicago, and twice in the Capital Fringe festival. Her daughter Nina Norris is an artist working in Chicago. Life's a blast because she shares it with writer Tim Treanor.


  1. Michele Kaminski says:

    I have sent an e-mail and signed the petition of both these important causes, crucial to the Washington DC theater scene.



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