The Battle for Source

A month ago I touched on the upcoming metamorphosis of Source Theater from bankrupt blight to beer hall. It appeared the deal between Source’s management and the Bedrock owners to sell the space was brokered, full stop. Then an outcry of support from the arts community to keep the space as a theater and rising questions from the city on Source’s usage of funding began to emerge.

The city has a vested interest in Source’s fate due to the considerable financial support it has given them over the years to save the theater from ruin. This is why it isn’t as simple as Source just deciding to sell the space, and sayonara baby.

This all came to a head last Thursday at the ANC 1B meeting, replete with parading protestors from the theater community (in costume, no less) and television crews. As always the ever-reliable TheaterBoy has an excellent run-down of the Source Saga. In addition, a neighborhood friend attended the meeting and gave me some scoop…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs
Some key points she gleaned:

“The city is saying that Source could operate profitably. Source is saying it can’t. So the city asked Source for documents showing that the business is not viable. Source’s board has not yet produced them.

The city is asking Source and Bedrock to put the sale on hold while the city does a profitability study. If the city’s study determines it could be profitable, then both sides would back away from the sale. The city would pay Bedrock a consideration for its expenses related to the purchase of Source and help find a new location. Source would have to get an all new board of directors.”

It’s interesting to note that many protestors are not actually lobbying to save Source itself, but for the space to be sold to another arts organization, one with the moxie to actually run a viable and profitable stage.

DC is a great theater town that continues to grow in opportunities. Several top-notch companies are currently expanding their spaces or moving to better ones (Shakespeare, Woolly Mammoth, Studio, Gala – all fit into this expansion/improvement category). It seems sad to me that Source couldn’t make it work. With the success of new restaurants, bars, and retail on that strip, the idea that they couldn’t be profitable is shocking. Look at Studio’s success. What’s the difference? What’s the problem here?

As for now, I’m on the side of those who say Source needs to account for its financial obligation to the city, and move out of the way for a company with the guts to give the neighborhood exciting theater. And as for Bedrock, I’d love to see them pick another space on 14th and continue the growing nightlife options. There’s room for both.

I’m off to a neighborhood meeting tonight to hear for myself what the current situation is, and I’ll certainly report back. In the meantime, I’m curious if any of our readers have any opinions on this, or indeed care…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

As one of the founding editors of We Love DC, Jenn’s passions are theater and cocktails. After two decades in the city, she’s loved every quirky, mundane, elegant, rude minute of her DC life. A proud advocate for DC’s talented drinks scene, she’s judged the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s ARTINI contest, the DC Rickey Month contest, the Jefferson Hotel’s Quill Cocktail competition, and is a founding member of LUPEC DC. A graduate of Catholic University’s drama program, she toured the country as a member of National Players, and has been both an actor and a costume designer before jumping the aisle to theater criticism. Writing for We Love DC restored her happiness after a life-threatening illness, and she’s grateful to you, dear readers. Send your suggestions to jenn (at) welovedc (dot) com and follow her on Twitter.

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