LOS ANGELES -- When it opens in 2002, the Walt Disney Concert Hall at Hope and 2nd streets will feature a mid-size theatre space devoted to cutting-edge fare.
The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theatre -- dubbed the REDCAT -- will be administered by the Valencia-based California Institute of the Arts.
As described in recent article in the Los Angeles Times, the REDCAT "was modeled after the Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre in London but with changes that make it even more versatile. Disney Hall architect Frank O. Gehry designed the space, with the help of CalArts' Christopher Barreca, a noted set designer who also has experience designing theatres."
While the concert hall will seat 2,380, the REDCAT will hold approximately 250 and will offer a space adaptable to proscenium, thrust or in- the-round configurations. "It will have side walls consisting of double doors that can be opened inward or removed entirely, and several movable overhead gantries that can accommodate anything from lighting instruments to performers," said the Times.
"We want the space to be some combination of LaMaMa, ETC, Dance Theatre Workshop and the Knitting Factory," said CalArts President Steven Lavine, comparing REDCAT to several of New York's avant-garde venues. "Very frequently, it's our faculty that's populating those spaces. So we're in a way making our own little BAM." Lavine stressed that REDCAT will offer neither vanity productions nor purely student productions. "It's going to be for the very best stuff we do. I hope that we can weigh in on the national landscape."
REDCAT is also credited with helping attract such artist-teachers as puppeteer Janie Geiser and stage/opera director Travis Preston to CalArts.
"REDCAT is going to give us the kind of visibility that CalArts has never had," Lavine said.
"Simply by virtue of the premieres that REDCAT is bound to present, L.A.'s visibility should also increase. Moreover, because artistic adventurousness tends to be infectious, the creative dialogue will broaden. And that's likely to foster fellow-traveler activity at other venues," said the Times.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent