The residency began in 2004, 18 months after Furious Theatre had to leave its first home at Armory Northwest. Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps and then-executive director Lyla White approached the young company to occupy the Playhouse's second stage, what was called The Balcony Theatre (now the Carrie Hamilton).
Furious produced 16 premiere productions in the intimate upstairs space, including the Los Angeles premieres of Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things and Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Award winner Grace by Craig Wright, plus the world premieres of Canned Peaches in Syrup by Alex Jones and Garland Award winner An Impending Rupture of the Belly by Matt Pelfrey, in the Carrie Hamilton Theatre.
Although the original agreement between the two companies ended in 2008, the organizations "agreed to continue to enjoy the partnership that had expanded to include Furious participation in other Playhouse programs such as New Generations, which introduced at-risk youth to theatre free of charge, and the Hothouse new play development reading series," according to a Feb. 3 statement.
After the closure of Pasadena Playhouse in early 2010, Furious Theatre Company was able to help keep the doors of the Carrie Hamilton Theatre open by paying the March rent. Furious then produced the Los Angeles premieres of Men of Tortuga by Jason Wells and boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. (The Playhouse has since emerged from Chapter 11 and is running again, currently producing the new musical Dangerous Beauty.)
"The company was looking forward to once again renewing the residency agreement after the Playhouse re-opened in late summer of last year, but after months of discussion, the organizations were not able to come to an agreement that suited both of their needs." Furious ensemble member and managing director Nick Cernoch said in a statement, "While we would have liked to continue and expand upon the partnership that both Furious and the Playhouse have enjoyed for the past six years, the costs to our organizations combined with new operational considerations due to Pasadena Playhouse's need to lease and maintain its second stage have made that impossible at this time. We have an offer to rent the Carrie Hamilton Theatre for future productions should the need arise and we know the Playhouse would welcome us, but for the moment we are focused on finding the right space for our world-premiere production of Matt Pelfrey's NOgoodDEED, which requires an expansive playing space, the capacity for rear-projection design, and greater ceiling height."
Cernoch continued, "We would like to thank the entire Pasadena Playhouse family for everything they have done for us over the past six years, especially artistic director Sheldon Epps and former executive director Lyla White for giving us a home. All of us associated with Furious Theatre Company are very proud to have produced 16 outstanding premiere productions as the resident company at the State Theatre of California."
This is the third time in Furious' nearly ten-year history that a search is on for a new theatre space. Cernoch said, "Our next ideal home will return us to our warehouse roots. We would like to secure a flexible, long-term performance space within the next 18 months. We will also continue to explore all opportunities to collaborate with other arts organizations to bring the most exciting work we can to the stage. Until then we are thrilled to focus on our new partnership with Naked Angels and we look forward to announcing details about NOgoodDEED soon."
For more information, visit www.furioustheatre.org.