Artisphere policy change leaves WSC Avant Bard homeless

This just in from WSC Avant Bard – After two years as the resident theatre company at Arlington County’s Artisphere, WSC Avant Bard finds itself unexpectedly homeless.

At a meeting last week between WSC Avant Bard and the Artisphere, representatives of the theatre company were told that, effective immediately, the Rosslyn arts center has changed its policies and that they will no longer be providing residencies to companies like WSC Avant Bard. WSC Avant Bard moved to Artisphere from its long-time home at Clark Street Playhouse in Crystal City when the arts center opened in October 2010.

wsclogographicThe new policy comes as WSC Avant Bard – the 23-year-old theatre company formerly known as Washington Shakespeare Company – is in the midst of lining up creative talent and additional funding for the spring repertory productions of its 2012-13 season.

Artisphere’s new policy means that the company must not just find a new site for its spring productions, but immediately identify new office and storage space as well.

“This is a shock to us, and it poses a threat to this season’s programming,” said Managing Director Kyle Jean Fisher, “Artisphere had always appreciated the value that theater brought to the Arlington community. We thought we had a long-term home.”

Arlington Cultural Affairs is working with WSC Avant Bard to identify a space for the company’s spring repertory productions of Caesar and Dada, a highly anticipated new work by Washington playwright Allyson Currin, and John Webster’s classic revenge tragedy, The White Devil. WSC Avant Bard just completed a run in the Artisphere of its acclaimed, Helen Hayes-recommended production of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.

“I feel confident we can find a venue for our two spring shows with Arlington County’s help.” said Artistic Director Christopher Henley. “Then we need to get focused and creative to find a home for our 24th season and beyond. We’re fortunate to have a great acting company and strong support, so we’re optimistic about the next act. Arlington County has generously supported WSC over the past 23 years, and we’ve enjoyed a very close relationship that we expect to continue. Nevertheless, it’s disappointing that the wonderful potential of a WSC-Artisphere partnership will now never be realized.”

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