The Playgoer: The New Victory Gardens

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

The New Victory Gardens

Well, I know where I'm going on my next trip to Chicago.

Victory Gardens--one of the standard bearers of the Chicago off-Loop scene, nurturing many playwrights over the last few decades, has moved into the beautiful historic Biograph movie theatre. Yes, where Dillinger was shot!

The Tribune's Chris Jones tells the story of how this little-company-that-could built up their fortunes while holding onto their identity and commitment to new writing. One of the compromises they'll have to make to fill the new space, though, is branching beyond loyalty to their stable of regular playwrights.

Oh, and they're still keeping their old space as a development lab and rental venue for smaller companies.

Notably, the Biograph renovation has been brought on-line without Victory Gardens selling off the old digs, even though such a move would have brought in several million dollars in one-time capital."That was my fear and, of course, our temptation," McVay says. "But if we'd done that, we'd have lost those theaters. You know it would have become a sports bar or something. We are a developmental theater. And we need that building to fulfill our mission."

I couldn't help thinking while reading... could this be the anti-MTC?

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