Modjeska Playhouse needs your help.
On March 12, 2020, Modjeska Playhouse, our nonprofit theater company in Lake Forest, CA, postponed its production of Murder at Modjeska Manor mid-run due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A few days later, state and federal governments across the country mandated all live theater venues be shut down.
Little did we know the shutdown would turn Murder at Modjeska Manor into our final production in the space we’ve called home for the past seven years.
The pandemic did a number on us. Unfortunately, because we’ve been prohibited from producing live theater or holding in-person classes the last 18 months (our only forms of revenue), Modjeska Playhouse has incurred and is being held liable for more than $75,000 in back rent plus the cost of moving out – an exorbitant amount that we simply cannot cover on our own.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve applied for several grants and disaster relief programs. But because we have an all-volunteer staff (with occasional freelance contractors), we didn’t qualify for most of them.
Our current lease expires this year at the end of August. Even though we have always been good tenants, and the 18-month shutdown was no fault of ours, our landlord is unwilling to work with us and made it clear they will not extend Modjeska Playhouse’s lease unless we immediately pay our past due rent, have our next lease paid in advance by an investor, and accept a 12% rent increase.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation, these demands far exceed our abilities.
Sadly, due to these unreasonable demands, we’ve been forced to close our current space and are humbly asking for your financial help to keep our theater company operating. We never made a lot of money, but we were never in debt until now.
While the current space is now closed, Modjeska Playhouse plans on continuing to operate as a theater company, just without a permanent home for the time being.
Modjeska Unscripted (our company improv group) intends to continue producing improvised plays at other venues soon. As for scripted works, when pandemic restrictions ease up, Modjeska Playhouse hopes to perform again, maybe outdoors or in a touring capacity. We also look forward to bringing back our popular Unscripted Improv classes.
Of course, all of this is contingent on us getting out of this financial mess that’s been forced upon us.
From opening our doors with The 39 Steps in April 2015 to being voted “Best Theatre/Playhouse” by OC Weekly in 2019, we’ve had an amazing journey. With the help of your tax-deductible donations, you can help our theater company get back on its feet and continue to produce quality theater productions for our South Orange County community.
For up-to-date info, please visit www.mphstage.org .
We cannot thank you enough for your support.
Christopher Sullivan, Joshua Stecker, and Joseph Alanes
Co-Artistic Directors, Modjeska Playhouse