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The Stage Press Release – October 17, 2007
Los Angeles Times Article – October 17, 2007
Daily Press Article – October 18, 2007
The more things change…
The Spirit Survives

A Diva Woos Donors for Her Santa Monica Showcase

A Bid to be Big Stage on Campus

Classical Music On The Pier

KMZT MP3 Sound Bites:
01 P.J. Ochlan with Architect Renzo Zecchetto

02 P.J. Ochlan with Architect Renzo Zecchetto 2

03 P.J. Ochlan with Maestro Kent Nagano

04 P.J. Ochlan with PACMA Director Dale Franzen

05 P.J. Ochlan with PACMA Director Dale Franzen 2

06 P.J. Ochlan with PACMA Asst. Director Adam Philipson

07 P.J. Ochlan with Architect Renzo Zeccetto

08 P.J. Ochlan with Malibu Mayor Andy Stern 1

09 P.J. Ochlan with Malibu Mayor Andy Stern 2

Feasibility Study

Madison Campus renovations have included significant building improvements as well as improvements to the building exterior and grounds. However the site includes an existing 500-seat classroom auditorium that does not meet today’s standards for accessibility, lighting, or acoustics, nor does it have dressing rooms, wings, or an overhead fly which are typically part of today’s modern auditoriums.

In 1998, the College began considering a replacement facility for this auditorium, to be funded privately and that would provide a home for an arts education program that would focus on the classical presentation of theater, voice, chamber, and dance as well as provide an opportunity for the community to interact with new emerging artists.

The College contracted with Mitze Productions to conduct an operational feasibility study. The principals of Mitze Productions include Thomas Mitze, who currently is the managing director of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center and is an acknowledged national expert on theater operations, and his wife Marnie Mitze, who is the managing director of the Center for the Arts at Pepperdine University in Malibu,

The feasibility study, prepared in 1998, provides a detailed scenario for the mission, programming options, projected staffing including salary levels, itemized annual financial pro formas, a series of presentation budgets, sample visiting artist and rental agreements, recommended rental rates, rules, and regulations for successfully operating and programming a mid-size theater.

The study concludes that a mixed use of the Madison Site Theater as both a large college lecture hall and a performing arts theater is a financially feasible way of providing the college and the community with a major educational and artistic resource.

Following is a summary of this study.

Santa Monica College has an opportunity to build, operate and program a mid-sized (500 seat) performing arts theater which would serve the westside community. There is a large, well-educated population here which constitutes an eager audience for the live performing arts presented close to home. There are many talented actors, musicians, dancers, directors, choreographers, designers, and theater technicians who live on the westside and would serve as the creative force behind first rate artistic programming of a mid-size theater in Santa Monica.

The College can use this theater to advance education in the arts through programs and performances, including programs developed for K-12 curriculum, and achieve a vision of an arts education program that will be diverse, intergenerational, and regional.

Santa Monica College can create this unique educational and artistic resource for both the college and the community by operating the Madison Site Theater as a large academic lecture hall Monday through Thursday mornings and Monday and Tuesday evenings and as a rental theater providing cultural and performing arts programming Wednesday and Thursday evenings and weekends. The cost of operations would be covered through a combination of annual FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) revenue generated through use of the Madison Site Theater as an academic lecture hall and rental revenue from cultural and performing arts programming including rental income, labor chargebacks, box office fees, concessions, parking charges and interest on advance ticket sales. The location of the Madison Site Theater as a much needed mid-sized house on the westside should make it a magnet for rental programming. Enterprising management with a clear artistic vision could make it a financially successful and culturally significant asset for the college and the community. It will also serve as a high profile representative of Santa Monica College to all of Southern California.

The Madison Site Theater can provide special discount ticketing for students, faculty, and staff; it can support fund raising for the college by providing special events and performance opportunities for potential donors, and it will serve as an artistic “home” for local and regional performing arts organizations.

Santa Monica College theater, music, and dance departments can present major presentations including plays, musicals, symphonies, opera, and dance performances. Other college events such as special lectures, large scale meetings, and student government concerts can also be presented.

In addition, the Madison Site Theater can sponsor a series of in-house performing arts presentations which would be paid for through ticket sales and annual fund raising. A performing arts booking network of college and community theaters represented by professional associations such as California Presenters, Western Alliance of Arts Administrators, and others will enable management of the Madison Site Theater to present a wide spectrum of performing arts including classical music, ballet, modern and ethnic dance, world and contemporary music, theater, family attractions, culturally specific presentations, and contemporary performances.