Details have emerged on an eleventh hour settlement in the landlord/tenant dispute between the Present Company and Brookshire Equities, L.L.C., the group's landlord at the Lower East Side Theatorium.
For the Present Company, the settlement assures fringe festival organizers that the Theatorium space will remain the festival's anchor venue in what they say is a pivotal year for the four-year-old event.
Both sides have agreed to settle for $32,000, which is the Present Company's uncontested back rent according to the theatre's artistic director John Clancy.
Lawyers for both sides are preparing the necessary documents. Meanwhile, the original Feb. 4 court date was extended until Feb. 25 to give both parties enough time to resolve the matter.
"We've reached a settlement," Clancy told Playbill On-Line. "Once it's been put in writing and signed off we might not even have to go back to court." Present Company had stopped paying rent in November when management feared that rent money might be applied to contested late fees. Clancy said that the settlement removes something of a Damoclean Sword from the festival. "The good news is that the Theatorium will continue to be the anchor venue and central box office for the Fringe Festival," Clancy said.
In connection with the dispute and in light of the settlement, Fringe organizers have extended the festival's talent application deadline from Feb. 28 until March 17.
The next two shows at Theatorium are going to be C.J. Hopkins new play A Place Like This, and Clancy's forthcoming Notice of Default: An Opportunity to Cure, a larger mediation on the role of money in the arts, based on the recent dispute.
Clancy said that Present Company is still trying to raise an additional $30,000 to finance necessary overhead prior to the festival, but that the group's recent campaign to raise a total of $100,000 was going well. Enough money has been raised to cure the back rent, Clancy said. New York City is the seventh major U.S. city to host a fringe festival. Gotham joined Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco as a fringe festival host city in 1997.
Talent applications as well as ticket information on the Fringe Festival can be obtained by calling (212) 420-8888 or by visiting www.fringenyc.org.
-- By Murdoch McBride