Burbank Center Stage Request For Proposal Process Raises Questions (2024)

Questions and complaints have been swirling around the Burbank Center Stage Request For Proposal (RFP) process currently underway, as managed by City Staff, as the process has dragged on for several additional months and requirements have been changed.

Complaints about the lack of communication by City Staff with some bidding vendors, the icing out of the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission from the process, deviation from the initial City Staff schedule for the process and most recently, a change to the process including the addition of another interview have prompted public responses from a Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner, The Colony Theatre who is the current operator of the space and another of the prospective bidders for the Burbank Center Stage.

Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner Suzanne Weerts pulled her application to continue on the arts council past her current term which ends July 31, during public comment at the Burbank City Council meeting on June 13. Although her comment was cut down because of new time limits at the meeting, her full comment is available to read on myBurbank.com’s Letter to the Editor section, published on June 20.

Another prospective bidder for the Burbank Center Stage RFP, John Burroughs High School Choir Director/Vocal Music teacher Brendan Jenningsexpressed his dismay and frustration with the lack of communication by City Staff in his Letter to the Editor published on June 22.

Jennings, who applied with a consortium of local theater professionals as the After Hours Theater Company, and his co-applicants including Graham Wetterhahn and Michaela Bulkley, were frustrated that their application was turned down, according to City Staff, for “no contact,” when no one from the City attempted to reach them with any questions.

Bulkley communicated with Karen Little, a Buyer in the City of Burbank Purchasing Department during the RFP process. She sent Little an email on February 20, “asking about the next steps for the RFP after we turned it in and to see if they needed any other information. On February 24, they emailed us saying they would be scheduling interviews for the week of March 27, but we never got additional information.”

“I followed up on March 28 asking about the interviews, and never got a response. When we were marked as unresponsive I brought up these emails but apparently, they didn’t count,” Bulkley continued. “When I asked about the interviews, she said that they were to inform us of the overall next steps, but did not count as an invitation for us to be interviewed.”

“The conversation was that our application was ‘incomplete’ because we were missing ‘financial information’ and we were deemed ‘unresponsive.’ We asked why did no one contact us about the incomplete status of the application, or let us know what was missing. She said it was not the responsibility of the City to make sure we fill out the application correctly.”

“When we asked for more information on what financial information was missing they said they weren’t at liberty to say, and that she didn’t have our RFP in front of her to check,” Bulkley added. “We explained we were not filing as a nonprofit, since After Hours is an independent production company, so we don’t have certain tax forms but still feel like we hit all of the necessary requirements, including submitting Graham Wetterhahn’s Schedule C Taxes, since he is the owner of After Hours.”

“We asked if we could resubmit, provide the missing financial information, or be considered for an interview since the interviews had not happened and she said there was nothing that could be done and our application was removed from consideration. She would be willing to discuss our application after the RFP process was closed, but she has not gotten back to us since.”

“If they didn’t like our application, that’s one thing, but to say we submitted an incomplete application with no other information was frustrating to say the least,” Bulkley also said. “Especially when there were so many, very specific and complicated steps to follow. (Blue ink, several printed copies, different envelopes for different parts of the application.)”

The Colony Theatre

When the RFP for the Burbank Center Stage property located at 555 N. Third Street was announced on December 19, 2022, the timing was questioned, even though The Colony Theatre management had been expecting one at some point earlier in 2022.

“The timing right before Christmas was shocking to be honest… on a human level,” commented The Colony Producing Artistic Director Heather Provost. “And I pride myself on separating emotion from ALL business dealings, but that one was challenging to manage during the holidays for everyone. Our staff was emailed, I was not.”

“However, the first shock of it all was being told 10 months prior in February, after being one of so few theaters who had just survived a global pandemic, and after having been negotiating ‘in good faith’ on a long-term lease throughout the duration of the pandemic, that they would be sending out an RFP in the coming months,” she explained. “Their own theater survived a global pandemic, and this was their reaction.”

“We were told the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission would have a huge say in the RFP process,” Provost continued. “And deservedly so, they are there to advise on major art decisions. They have been shut out from the process completely. And when someone like Suzanne Weerts withdraws her application from serving on the commission, for the reasons she stated, that should be very very telling.”

“In early March 2022, we then began to negotiate a short-term lease with the city to keep us functioning while they put the RFP together. I had proposed through December 2023 as I knew their process was going to take a while. I was told no. They gave us until July of this year. Which would give us about a year total, however the agreement wasn’t finalized until September of 2022,” Provost explained. “What most people do not know, isthat this was the longest lease we’ve had since I came on board.”

“One year with a semblance of security, and look at what we were able to accomplish. A full scale musical with name talent, red carpet opening with celebs and dignitaries. A production worthy of a Broadway stage. Troubies, Storytelling, Theatre for Young Audiences, mentoring, unprecedented partnerships with some of the most incredible local arts organizations, visual art shows in a thriving art gallery, ballets, student matinees, film shoots, entertainment mixers, community outreach, and much more. All while navigating a challenging post-pandemic landscape. We also managed to raise a significant amount of capital. If we are given the long-term lease we’ve been seeking, the possibilities are endless.”

Provost has been Producing Artistic Director for The Colony Theater since 2017 and gave some important history and context regarding the current Burbank Center Stage RFP and those of the past.

“We are extremely proud of the proposal we submitted [for the 2023 RFP.] The process, however, has been extremely challenging,” Provost said.

“There has been this misconception that we are a theater that needs to be saved by another entity coming in,” she continued. “A fellow bidder had mentioned this to me. This is an absolute false narrative.”

“We’re a theater that has needed and continues to need and seeks a long-term lease from its city. It was nice to see colleagues of ours pull out of the bidding process after speaking directly with us and learning of our fight to keep the space. Some, we even forged partnerships with after those conversations. We have great appreciation for that.”

Burbank Center Stage Request For Proposal Process Raises Questions (9)

Provost shared some of The Colony Theatre’s history with the City of Burbank for context.

The Colony Theatre, current operator and 23-year-long occupant of the Burbank Center Stage, noted that their previous RFP bid, accepted by the City of Burbank in Spring of 2018, was negotiated to include a long term lease of five years, with an option for The Colony Theatre to extend an additional five years.

“It would structurally look like previous long term leases the theater had in the past. This long term contract was what was delayed for years… what we (us at The Colony) were negotiating ‘in good faith’ on with them.”

No long term lease ever came from the City.

In addition to the 2018 RFP, The Colony Theatre won the previous RFP for the Burbank Center Stage in the late 1990s, which precipitated their move to Burbank.

“The Colony Theatre has been a staple in the L.A. theater community for 48 years… the last 23 years in Burbank. The theater started to have some financial difficulties around 2016 (as many do and as The Mark Taper has recently announced along with many other theaters across the country.)”

“I came on board in 2017, first as a board member, then as Producing Artistic Director to help right the ship. We immediately implemented an entirely new business model, a restructure of leadership and a solid five year plan.”

“The City of Burbank sent out an RFP as I was coming on board. We partnered with BUSD and were awarded the RFP spring of 2018 with the proposal we submitted together, and with that the promise of a new lease. Essentially a renewal of the five year lease we had with an option to renew for another five.”

“During negotiations, BUSD removed themselves due to a conflict they had with the city. We were the choice, but now without BUSD attached. However we maintained and continue to maintain a strong relationship with them. The city put us on a month-to-month, while we negotiated ‘in good faith.’ Which seemed fine, as there was nothing really to negotiate if it was going to be a renewal. We had proven to them that a sustainable and successful business model was put in place under new leadership.”

“The theater began to thrive once again. Back in the black,” Provost went on to say. “We continued to wait for the lease to come in. We received one excuse after another. ‘Legal is working on it.’ ‘Should have something soon…’ You can not operate a successful theater on a month-to-month lease. We were instructed to go ahead and do everything we needed to do, the lease is on its way, etc. It’s all good.”

“We were serving the community in all aspects of the arts, including one-of-a-kind summer camps that earned us recognition from the California legislature,” she added. “We were mentoring youth, building partnerships, providing a training ground for artists of tomorrow, producing shows, presenting shows, renting to community organizations, schools, dance companies, visual artists, filmmakers, etc. Broadway and TV/Film stars were now performing on our stage. We were/are a safe haven for artists of all kinds.”

In 2019, we still had no lease. We were again promised we would have one. We had agreed to a rent increase, which was fine. And they now wanted a percentage of all box office of our produced shows no matter what the show. A percentage of a non-profit’s shows was odd, but not a deal breaker, and we agreed to it.”

“They sent us a lease that was basically a template of other properties they have like tennis courts, golf course, etc… that said within it, they could kick us out ‘without cause.’ There is no point to a long term contract with that language in there. The rug could be pulled out from under us at any given moment,” Provost explained. “They had now gone back on everything we had talked through. The Burbank Economic Development group then arranged to come tour the theater, for the first time… ever.”

“We kept telling them, a theater doesn’t operate like Parks and Rec facilities. We worked diligently trying to negotiate that ‘clause’ out of there. But something was not right. The intention appeared to be the desire to make us disposable. We were still month-to-month.”

“Then came 2020. We all know how that goes. We worked tirelessly to keep our theater afloat. And we were one of the lucky ones. During the pandemic in 2020, we reached out again regarding the lease and the removal of the ‘without cause’ clause. They agreed. Mostly. The five year lease would now have three years without the ‘without cause’ clause. We kept pushing for the lease to be delivered. We were told they were still waiting for legal to come back to the offices and that they’d deliver it by end of year so that it would start fresh with 2021.”

“2021: Still no lease. That spring… another tour of the building was requested from Parks and Rec, Economic Development, and their real estate team. We told them we were in an extremely solid position for re-opening. And we had capital for beautification… replacing carpets that were long overdue, painting, equipment upgrades, etc.”

“We asked when we could expect the lease. Again, we were told ‘Legal is so backed up, we’ll get it to you very soon.’ They were also happy that we would be spending some money on beautification.”

Provost notes that they’ve had beautification money “allocated for years… however NO smart business person would spend those funds without a long term lease in place.”

“We were told to ‘give them some time’ on the lease, since things were so chaotic. They had no issue with us spending that money. We found out recently that they were working on a deal to sell the space without informing us. We would have made the capital improvements for them if we had trusted to spend that money.”

In November [2021], we still hadn’t heard anything. We emailed. No response. January 2022, we emailed. No response. End of January, we emailed again. No response. Meanwhile, we were booking and planning through 2023 because so many things had to postpone due to Omicron… but slowly but surely coming back to life. We survived again.”

“Then we received an email from them reprimanding us. It said, ‘I hope you get this email. After not hearing from you in response to my emails, we worked with our IT Department to find out if there was a problem. Our IT Department narrowed down the problem to an issue with your server/email system. I was told today that all is resolved now…'”

“We had no issue with our server. We had no issues receiving emails from any person trying to contact us. We had been booking non-stop with no complaints. People were reaching us daily. They also had another email address for me as well as my personal cell phone.”

Provost then said she received an email from City Staff via her business email on February 15, 2022, saying: “…glad you reached out because I have been meaning to connect with you… with some not so great news. There continues to be more and more of a demand in the community for a facility that could serve as a quasi-cultural arts center in Burbank.”

“We don’t have land to build a new facility nor do we have the funds to build a new facility, therefore we looked at our existing facilities,” the email from the City of Burbank continued. “The only space that could meet this need is the theater, and consequently we are working on a new RFP. The thought is to have the space function to serve the greater cultural needs but also can be used by the operator for any specific programs (i.e. theater, etc.) We are hoping to release the RFP sometime in the first quarter of 2022.”

“Before this, they never once communicated with us regarding this ‘quasi-cultural arts center’… and if you look at our business model (which is part of our current proposal), we operate EXACTLY as what they’re claiming they want,” Provost said.

“We then asked if we could work out a way to give them exactly what they’re wanting so jobs won’t need to be lost, and another RFP situation could be avoided. They didn’t answer our question. Why, after promising us our lease time and time again, did they not just come to us and say, ‘can we do a little more of this or that?’ Instead of now sending out another RFP. Absolutely no transparency.”

Current Request For Proposals

“As previously mentioned, we were notified a few days before Christmas. And then, two days before New Years Eve, during the holiday break, we were told someone needed to be at the theater so they could film a tour of the space for the RFP. Again, emotion doesn’t belong in business, but… a blatant disregard for people’s livelihoods during what should be a season of celebration is simply not a good look.”

“Proposals were due February 2. We were now two years ahead of our goals in our five year business plan, and deep in production on a mainstage musical. Our first since the shut down. We were still able to meet their deadline. However, any questions submitted regarding the RFP by parties submitting proposals are required to be made public on the PlanetBids platform. They were late in answering everyone’s questions, so they extended the proposal deadline by a week.”

“Upon submitting our proposal on the platform, another question arose for us – one that COULD NOT have been discovered until it was time to click submit. We emailed them. They responded with a single sentence that was not related to the question. So we replied asking for clarification. Their reply was still of no help, so we responded once again. We received the same unhelpful answer, except with this statement included, ‘This will be our last transmission.'”

“Also, that question we had was never made public. Normally, on a public RFP if there is a question proposed, that question and the answer must be provided to all of the bidders.”

“We were then told when we were required to appear for our final presentation – NOTE ‘final.’ We went through the interview, answered every question that could have possibly been asked.”

“Their decision was to be made on March 16. With submissions being delayed a week, we assumed the decision would be delayed a week as well.”

“We heard nothing. Our lease was set to expire in July. We couldn’t book or program past June as it would take over a month to move out of the space if that were to happen – also, because of this delay, two major arms of our business model were now not functional. This was doing a tremendous amount of damage to us.”

“On April 18, we reached out asking if they had any insight as to when a decision would be made, as it had become extremely difficult to do business. They responded at the end of the week asking if we would be amenable to extending the current agreement to December. We said yes,” Provost continued. “We hadn’t heard back, so the following week we reached out asking if they had something for us to sign, etc. We were told they’d connect within two weeks. We never heard back.”

“All proposals were valid for 90 days. As of May 11, all proposals were invalid. We still hadn’t heard anything. On May 31, they sent a document asking for references from other facilities we’ve managed as well as agreeing to extend our proposal validity for another 90 days. Except they’d already been invalid for 20 days.”

“Now we are being told we must appear for a second round of interviews – which was NOT part of the RFP – remember the note ‘final’ presentation? We were told on Wednesday, June 21, that we had to be there on Wednesday, June 28. They would be giving us our appointment time on Thursday, June 22.”

“I emailed them, questioning the timeline for preparation and why a second round of interviews was now being required,” Provost said. “They cited this – ‘As stipulated in the RFP under Section VIII. RFP Terms and Conditions, Subsection 3.d.:d) Modify or suspend any and all aspects of the selection process, modify the scope of the project or the required responses, or modify the selection process and/or evaluation criteria indicated in this RFP.”

“…Which essentially allows them to keep adding, delaying, doing whatever they want, whenever they want.”

“Part of our team isn’t even available for the interview due to the less than a week’s notice. This is another example of the goal posts consistently being moved on us. Please also note. Not a single person making the decision on us has attended any of our events or productions since I came to The Colony,” Provost added.

On Monday afternoon, June 26, The Colony was notified that the second interview would take place sometime in July, not on June 28 as previously indicated, and a decision as to when would be made after the Fourth of July holiday. The Colony Theatre also received word from the City via email that their lease would be extended on a month-to-month basis through December 2023.

Most recently, The Colony was notified their second interview would be held on July 13.

“We have requested a virtual meeting since I will be out of town and working remotely,” Provost added.

She added that The Colony Theatre fears retribution for speaking out and that their RFP bid may be jeopardized for doing so. But, Provost emphasizes, the process has been so outside expectations based on previous City RFPs, communication has been severely lacking and goalposts for the RFP have been continually moved, she had no choice but to say something.

City Staff and Communication

Who are these people that comprise the mysterious entity of “City Staff”? It has been challenging to get any firm answer from the City as to who is involved with the project, but the main person who has been communicating directly or indirectly with bidding vendors and media is Karen Little in Purchasing. Grace Coronado and Senior Buyer Lisa Villegas are two other City employees who have been involved in communications.

Parks and Recreation Department Head Marisa Garcia is also involved. She gave a report in June to the Burbank Arts Commission on the RFP for Burbank Center Stage, which left questions unanswered and was called “unsatisfactory” by Weerts.

Garcia did not return multiple calls for comment, but Coronado, an Administrative Officer with the City of Burbank, did contact myBurbank to share limited information on the afternoon of June 26.

When asked what types of repairs may be needed at the Burbank Center Stage facility, Coronado said, “There are capital improvements that need to be addressed, such as new paint and carpet.”

According to Coronado, the initial timeline for the RFP process was “very aggressive” and their department is “severely short staffed,” although this RFP process has been ongoing for nearly seven months.

When asked why communication with the proposers was lacking and why the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission was excluded from the process, Coronado suggested emailing those questions to her so that Little could respond.

During the phone interview about the Burbank Center Stage RFP process, Coronado had to place this reporter on hold multiple times to find out how to respond from Little. Little refused to join the phone call, however, when prompted by Coronado. Emailed questions regarding the RFP process were sent June 26.

After a week of silence, a comparison chart of the old and new timelines for the RFP process was emailed to myBurbank on July 3.

Burbank Center Stage Request For Proposal Process Raises Questions (10)

“To continue to uphold the integrity of the Burbank Center Stage RFP process the Parks and Recreation Department is unable to share information related to the closed process,” Coronado said in the email. “The process is closed to preserve fairness and equity with no conflict of interest. Once an operator has been approved, we can disclose the selection.”

“The initial Proposal Due Date was extended from February 2, 2023 to February 10, 2023 which impacted the subsequent RFP timeline.”

“The RFP expressly allows the City to ‘Modify or suspend any and all aspects of the selection process, modify the scope of the project or the required responses, or modify the selection process and/or evaluation criteria indicated in this RFP,'” Coronado stated. “To that end, second interviews will be conducted in July 2023.”

“Additionally, staff will present the proposed contract to the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission and the Parks and Recreation Board for their input,” she added. “While these steps will further delay the process, we believe these are necessary to ensure a comprehensive process.”

“Lastly, the current agreement with The Colony Theatre Company has been officially extended through December 31, 2023,” Coronado also said. “The month-to-month extension continuation will expire no sooner than the end of the calendar year.”

MyBurbank wanted to know who on City Staff was pushing the idea that the City needed a cultural arts center and why was the Burbank Center Stage the only property that qualified. We wanted to know who on City Staff would be selecting the winning bid and we wanted responses to the multiple criticisms on lack of communication and major delays to the initial timeline. We wanted to know why the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission was excluded from the RFP process.

None of these questions were responded to.

YMCA Interest

The two other proposers for the Burbank Center Stage RFP are the Burbank YMCA and Greenhouse Arts and Media. Greenhouse Arts and Media did not respond after multiple phone calls and emails.

After multiple phone calls and an email, Bryan Snodgrass, COO of the Burbank YMCA, responded with a phone message saying the YMCA declined to comment at this time.

Snodgrass was asked why the YMCA, who has no experience running a commercial theater, was interested in the Burbank Center Stage space. He also declined to respond to a query about the YMCA’s intentions for the space, as the organization is primarily known for child care, day camps and exercise programs for youth, adults and seniors.

Burbank Cultural Arts Commission

Weerts and Cultural Arts Commission Chair Eric Conner met with Parks and Rec head Garcia twice in January and February 2023 to “express our concerns with the RFP.”

“I spoke with several council members expressing frustration with the process and emailed them all in March but only heard back from Zizette,” Weerts added, noting Councilmember Zizette Mullins suggested the Cultural Arts Commissioners meet with City Manager Justin Hess.

Conner and Weerts spoke with Hess and Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke in late May.

“We were told that we’d get a report at our June commission meeting, which we did, but it was unsatisfactory. I asked a number of questions which again weren’t answered.”

Garcia gave the report on the Burbank Center Stage RFP to the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission in early June.

“That was when it became absolutely clear to me that we were never going to be told what was really going on. I did a lot of soul searching that weekend,” Weerts said. “I have loved being on this commission. We have done some really great things together for our community and my fellow Commissioners and our direct liaisons with Parks and Rec are wonderful, hard-working, dedicated professionals.”

“It made me sad to pull my application. But I don’t want to sit in any more meetings where I’m not getting straight answers about something that directly affects the position that I was appointed to serve in. It’s insulting. I’m not a quitter. I’m really sad. But I genuinely care about these theatrical spaces and I know a lot of people in our city go too. And this whole experience makes me wonder if this RFP is an anomaly or have there been others where an applicant was dropped for no clear reason? I definitely don’t trust the process.”

“From March 16 when the decision was supposed to be made, to May 31, the four potential vendors received no communication from City staff about the status of the RFP. They have now moved the goal posts adding a second round of interviews to the process. There are only FOUR applicants. Why do they need to meet with them again? Was the RFP poorly written? They have also asked the applicants for THREE REFERENCES – MONTHS after the process was supposed to be over. Letters of recommendation were included in the original proposals. Why do they need more?”

Do they have a candidate that they want but that didn’t have a solid enough proposal at the start and they want to give them more time to get more information in to justify the selection? I am just guessing here because the process is not transparent at all. As a Commissioner – and even though I pulled my application to be reappointed, I am still a Commissioner until 7/31 – I requested updates at multiple meetings since March and we were simply given the timeline that had already passed and when we asked about next steps, we were told that they are ‘not at liberty to say,'” Weerts continued.

At [the June Cultural Arts Commission] meeting, we were told that the Colony is happy to continue to manage the theater month-to-month thru December, which is patently false. The Colony – and the other applicants – expected to know the results of the RFP decision in March and the budgets they presented were based on knowing they would be programming through the remainder of the year after contracts were signed in June.

Weerts, after her public comment on June 13, sent an email to all five City Councilmembers on June 14: “I understand that City Council is not allowed to interfere in the RFP process, however, when City Staff is not doing their job in a timely fashion, it seems that you have a responsibility to find out why and not allow Staff to give you the same seemingly arbitrarily adjusted timeline for no stated reason that was presented to our Commission at our June meeting. We asked questions in that meeting and got vague responses. I expected Council would ask pointed questions and hold Staff accountable for the extraordinary delay.”

“The fact that it hasn’t been a priority to follow through on the RFP as planned seems to reflect that the Request for Proposals went out too soon or was poorly written,” Weerts also said in her email to Councilmembers. “One might defend the delay as truly seeking the best outcome for the space, but not communicating with the four potential vendors for more than two months is a dropped ball (or simply rude) and then to ask them to submit additional reference documents on May 31 (around when the contract should have been signed) is appalling.”

“We could have a strong regional theater that drives art and theater lovers into our city to dine and explore. The selected proposal for that space SHOULD be moving forward this month with their vision, but instead the city is dragging its feet into December, making renovations and planning for a full season of theater at least another year away.”

“For seven months, I’ve been asking for clarification on the role of this commission. We were appointed for our expertise in various forms of the arts, and could be an invaluable resource for City Council and Staff,” Weerts also wrote to the Councilmembers. “Instead, we are little more than a box to check. HOWEVER, if indeed a second round of interviews is going to be part of the RFP process, why not make it more transparent? Why not open this new door and allow for a citizens panel?”

Weerts did say that only Mayor Konstantine Anthony responded to her after her public comment and email to Council in June, saying, “This whole RFP situation is wildly disappointing. I appreciate your stance and I believe your resignation is a powerful message to our staff.”

“He shared that Council can’t intervene in RFPs… but I countered that they can surely question how City Staff handles the process,” Weerts added.

“I truly care about this city and am heartbroken that my time in this role has ended. I tried to get answers for months and I couldn’t get anywhere,” Weerts also said. “I hope that pulling my application sends a message that SOMEONE IS WATCHING and that city officials need to be held accountable.”

“I know that the theaters (Center Stage/The Colony and The Little Theatre/Grove) are a small issue in a city that has a lot of big things to deal with, but the disregard with which they are handling this is emblematic of a much bigger systemic issue in the way Burbank does business and it doesn’t bode well for our city’s future,” she added. “The arts should be part of that future plan, but I don’t trust that they will be protected or enhanced.”

The Future of Theater in Burbank

“We have been charged with growing and operating a first-class theater. We operate as a cultural arts center,” Provost said about The Colony Theatre. “The fact that we’ve been able to do what we have, with the threat of the rug being pulled out from underneath us at any given moment is a miracle in itself. Putting the emotional toll that takes on people aside, a month-to-month removes the foundation of planning, strategizing and capitalizing.”

“Things don’t just happen in a theater space. For example, the production we just mounted was planned close to a year out. A month-to-month lease won’t allow you to plan a legitimate season in any way. We strive to bring in the highest level of entertainment to and for the people of Burbank.”

“You can’t support the operation of this historic and valuable theater when you can’t even say that the theater will be in operation in a month. When we’re constantly having to defend this historic institution and its operation to its own city, goals can’t be reached, funds can’t be raised, grants can’t be written, programming can’t be planned, full-scale productions can’t be mounted, rentals can’t be booked out, youth programs can’t be provided…” Provost emphasized.

“You are essentially asking someone to run a 100 meter dash but tying their feet together first. So much could and would be achieved with some security coming from a long-term lease. Our proposal demonstrates this, as does the last year of operation we’ve had, even with the RFP looming over us. We provided a genuine proof of concept.”

“In the wake of the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper news [shows paused indefinitely], now more than ever we must support the arts. It is a big deal that this city’s own theater is operating and producing right now.”

“This current RFP situation is not because of The Colony being in jeopardy of closing on its own accord. This situation is being forced on us,” Provost said. “Though we are extremely disappointed by the Burbank Park and Rec’s decision to send our theater out for RFP and jeopardize the survival of yet another theater – after it being one that managed to survive a global pandemic – we are encouraged by what we’ve presented in our proposal and have hope that if there is still good left in our political system and municipal government, then that good will triumph. When we stop valuing the arts and its artists, where do we go next?”

Burbank Center Stage Request For Proposal Process Raises Questions (11)

Burbank Center Stage Request For Proposal Process Raises Questions (2024)


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