Court Order Keeps D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company at Home

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Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) this week won a preliminary injunction in its ongoing tenancy dispute with the Lansburgh Theatre. A Jan. 10, 2013 hearing will determine whether the court order should be expanded, according to STC.

According to The Washington Post:

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Scene from STC’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”

LTI claims that millions in repairs are due soon to the theater space, which was donated for nonprofit use as the building was redeveloped more than 20 years ago, and thus recently proposed an annual rent increase from $70,000 to $480,000. The theater troupe counters that the nonprofit LTI is acting like a commercial landlord.

According to a press release from STC:

The lawsuit brought by STC alleges that famed Boston-based real estate developer Graham Gund, who donated the theatre to a non-profit entity in 1992, was attempting to control and interfere with the charity in violation of its D.C. charter and IFRS [International Financial Reporting Standards] rules prohibiting his control, in order to enhance the profitability of the Lansburgh Building, which is owned by Gund and Gund’s company Gunwyn / Lansburgh Limited Partnership. The court order entered today specifically stops Defendant Gund from evicting or otherwise interfering with the STC supporting charity.

Chris Jennings, STC’s managing director, wrote on STC’s website:

With this new measure of protection and security for STC, we look forward to continuing to promote artistic excellence in our home at the Lansburgh. All performances will continue as scheduled, and we hope to see you in January for our production of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie starring Richard Schiff.

STC performs in two theatres, the Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., creating a cultural hub of activity that showcases STC as well as local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC moved into the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre in March 1992, after six years in residency in the Folger Library’s Elizabethan theatre. At that time the Penn Quarter neighborhood was not considered desirable by many; since then, STC has helped drive its revitalization, according to the company’s release. The 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall opened in October 2007.