In March 1995, the Evidence Room, a group of actors, directors, and designers incorporated and founded a theater in a 5800 sq ft warehouse in Culver City. This company of ten raised startup funds, cleaned and converted the space, and created the largest and most versatile 99-seat venue in L.A. as a home for the company and a place to present other interesting work.
Over the course of the next three years, we staged 12 company productions and presented more than 20 additional projects generated by outside art organizations. We hosted benefits, symposiums, dance performances, art installations, and even an indoor carnival. The Culver City Redevelopment Agency and City Council bestowed production grants on our organization and we developed a partnership with the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts at Culver City High School in which we served on their board, mentored student projects, taught seminars, and provided internships.
In January 1998, our landlord terminated our lease and we began our second building search, soon securing a temporary home in the historic Ivy Substation. For two years at the Ivy, the Evidence Room enjoyed even greater success, breaking all our previous box office records and winning Ovation, LA Weekly, and Garland awards; 'Picks of the Week'; 'Critic's Choices; and Top Tens.
In January 2000, the company moved into a newly renovated warehouse in the Temple-Beverly area of Los Angeles. After months of permitting and remodeling and equipment installing, the new space opened with Charles Mee's THE BERLIN CIRCLE, a production which doubled all previous box office successes, expanded our audience, and went on to win multiple local awards, including the LA Weekly's 'Production of the Year.'
For the following six years on Beverly Blvd., Evidence Room presented 35 productions, which included original adaptations of rarely seen classics; world premieres; Los Angeles premieres; modern American and European classics; solo performances by the likes of Heather Woodbury, Tony Abatemarco, John Fleck, Sandra Tsing Loh; a seven-week performance art and music festival; our original late-night serial, THE STRIP, a living comic book; and an original holiday entertainment tradition created anew each year by music-theater auteur Ken Roht and his Orphean Circus—THE 99¢ ONLY STORE extravaganzas. We hosted the Mark Taper Forum's New Work Festival and its Next Step series, SITI company workshops, fundraisers, and many other events.
Equally importantly, we were able to create a home and gathering place for the LA theater community. Our spacious lobby and bar provided a hangout for theatergoers and artists alike, whether they had seen our production that night or were just stopping by.
In 2006, we found ourselves in the middle of an irreconcilable lease dispute with our landlords. As the company packed up the theater, we presented a final show to say goodbye to the space, Anton Chekhov's antic elegy, THE CHERRY ORCHARD.
Since 2006, we have continued to produce, first in partnership with the Unknown Theater (ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE) and more recently with a half dozen productions with the Odyssey Theatre including the multiple award-winning MARGO VEIL and ANNAPURNA which played Off-Broadway with The New Group.
Over the past 22 years, we have received funding from several private foundations, including A.S.K. Theatre Projects and the James Irvine Foundation as well as through government agencies—the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Office, the California Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In recognition of our work, Evidence Room has received 26 Backstage Garland Awards, 21 LA Weekly Theater Awards (among 70 nominations), 4 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, 3 Ovation Awards, and many Critic's Pick's and year-end Top Tens. The Los Angeles Times referred to our organization as 'L.A.'s most valuable rising theater.'
Evidence Room is a theater company comprised of actors, directors, and designers who have been working together for 22 years. Our aim is to expand traditional ideas of theater and produce striking, unpredictable theater events designed to rouse a new generation of theatergoers.