Economic Developments and Lease Closures
George Lawes poses in front of his theater, the Performance Gallery, after developers threatened to close the space. The photograph was taken for an article that sought to increase support for the endangered theater.
Courtesy of Atlanta History Center, Southline Press, Inc. Photographs.
These notes record the discussions of an emergency coalition formed to deal with the increasing homelessness of theaters in Atlanta. Attended by theater professionals and city developers alike, it focused on finding immediate solutions for theater companies that had lost their stage spaces to developers, as well as longer-term issues of policy and grant writing.
Courtesy of Georgia State University. Libraries, 7 Stages Theatre (Atlanta, Ga.) Records (M219).
Founded in 1976, Theatrical Outfit is Atlanta's second-oldest professional theater company. In the 1980s, the Outfit renovated the historic Kress Five and Dime Store on Peachtree Street to create a 200-seat, black-box theater.
Courtesy of Atlanta History Center, Cotten Alston Photographs, 1972-1998, undated.
During the 1970s and 1980s, competition for intown property increased, and Atlanta-based theaters faced unexpected lease closures. Along with financially motivated pressures to censor or downplay political materials, the sudden frequency of closures prompted a coalition of Atlanta-based theaters to tackle the subject of "theater homelessness." In 1987 the coalition met in response to the back-to-back closures of two major theater spaces in Atlanta, Nexus and The Performance Gallery, and the threatened closure of a third company, Theatrical Outfit. Each case was connected to real estate developers competing for space in the crowded city. To combat this challenge, theater companies got creative; members of the coalition suggested a makeshift time-share system so that groups suddenly without a physical theater space could continue to perform while they searched for a new location.