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For the new year, changes of scenery

January 08, 2006|Don Shirley

TWO theater companies that lost their La Brea Avenue venues last year, the West Coast Ensemble and Open Fist Theatre, have found new homes to the east.

Both companies were forced to move when landlords developed other plans for the properties.

The West Coast Ensemble will occupy a 5,000-square-foot warehouse on Kenmore Avenue just north of Hollywood Boulevard, a couple of blocks west of Barnsdall Park. The rent is $200 a month more than at the company's 4,000-square-foot La Brea space, but plans call for the new digs to eventually be converted into two theaters -- which will require fundraising.

That campaign will begin Feb. 10 with the first of six benefit performances at the theater of the Kander and Ebb revue "The World Goes 'Round."

Meanwhile, Open Fist Theatre will move into the larger of the two spaces formerly inhabited by the Actors' Gang on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and El Centro Avenue -- but probably only for two years.

The rent is $8,000 a month -- a hefty increase from the $3,000 that Open Fist paid on La Brea -- but artistic director Martha Demson says a patron has pledged to provide monthly support for two years.

Programming at the new Open Fist begins Jan. 20 with the return of John DeGroot's "Papa," a solo show about Ernest Hemingway.

-- Don Shirley

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