You’re in Los Angeles and looking for the perfect space to mount your production.
Available for your play, meeting, workshop or social event is TU Studios (Theatre Unlimited), in the NoHo Arts District.
North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District (a play off New York’s famous SoHo Arts District) is alight with small theatre, eclectic boutiques, an assortment of delightful culinary establishments and cafes, dance and art venues and of course—the Television Academy. Created in 1992 it has been a welcoming environment for L.A.s artistic community as well as the San Fernando Valley residents as it continues to expand and flourish.
Somewhere around the start of the art’s district “growing itself up” Dennis and Elizabeth Gersten were forming a company of actors dedicated to the art of performance and the play: Theatre Unlimited. With three Hollywood staged productions under their banner, they set out to find a permanent home for the thespian troupe.
Here’s what Dennis had to say when asked about the start of the studio:
We created T.U. Studios in the fall of 1995. My wife and I had bought our house in the Valley one year before this, so Noho was a convenient location that was already becoming a center for the Arts. Our not-for-profit corporation, Theatre Unlimited, was established in 1993; and we produced three shows in Hollywood before moving to Noho. The District covered a larger area then than it does today. There were twenty-some theaters in the Valley Theatre League – most were within the Noho hub. Redevelopment had not hit us yet, so rents were affordable. We staged many shows in those first few years.
NoHo is loosely bordered by Hatteras Street (north), Cahuenga Blvd. (east), Tujunga Ave. (west), and Camarillo Street at the south. The space the Gerstens found is located on Camarillo, right on the southern boundary.
TU initially staged its own theatrical fare but soon, Dennis found he had to adapt to the changing landscape:
The kind of growth that occurred (in the area)has not been kind to the artist. The District received little more than lip service from those whose assistance was needed to grow and protect an Arts community. Developers had the resources to push their projects forward, and so, as in other cities, gentrification drove some theaters out of business. We were forced to let our acting company go and become a theater rental facility, if we were to remain and meet the rising monthly expenses. After our first landlord sold the building, our rent doubled. Our neighbor, the wonderful Iliad Bookstore, (had to move further away) because their rent tripled.
Speaking with Dennis, it becomes clear that above all else… “The play’s the thing.”
The actor became active in Los Angeles Theatre fresh off of obtaining an MFA from California Institute of the Arts:
(My) involvement in the theatre community of L.A. has been consuming. There has been some film and TV work, but it’s what I do on stage that matters most to me. This past year I was in two productions at the Odyssey Theater that were very rewarding to work on – Tempest Redux and The Hairy Ape. I’ve just begun work on Macbeth, which is looking like another wild ride. I am also directing quite a bit.
And when it comes to managing TU Studios?
Whether producing or renting out space, small Theatre is not a place for making money. It is for the expression of the higher self.
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ABOUT TU STUDIOS
Theatre Unlimited Studios is available for productions, classes, workshops, auditions, film shoots, rehearsals, and meetings. We have a 55-seat Theater with lights and sound, a raised stage, wing, dressing room, lobby, two restrooms; and a 460-sq.-ft. Studio with carpeting, risers, and skylight. T.U. Studios is located at 10943 Camarillo Street in the Noho Arts District, close to the 101, 170, and 134 freeways. You’ll find us one storefront east of the intersection of Lankershim Blvd., Vineland Ave., and Camarillo St. We have ample parking in our lot and surrounding streets. For rates and availability, please contact DENNIS at: gersten-fergwells@sbcglobal. net or 818-205-1680.
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