Five Years Rent-Free for Grove Shakespeare Fest : Stage: The Garden Grove City Council unanimously approves lease agreement.


For the second time in as many weeks, the Garden Grove City Council showed its friendliness to the arts by delivering on an earlier promise to sign a new, five-year theater-lease agreement with the Grove Shakespeare Festival.

With a 5-0 vote at a special meeting earlier this week, the council approved a contract giving the county’s second-largest professional theater the right to operate the city-owned Gem Theatre and Festival Amphitheatre rent-free through December, 1996. The contract will take effect when an extension on the old contract terminates Dec. 31, 1991.

The most significant change is that the new agreement assures the not-for-profit theater troupe that it cannot be evicted by the city without a year’s written notice. The old contract required only 90 days’ notice.


Councilman Mark Leyes said he had expected a majority decision in favor of the new contract but that the council’s unanimity surprised him. The vote, he said, was “an expression of confidence in the leadership” of the theater board, which ousted former artistic director Thomas F. Bradac in June and found itself embroiled in controversy over that mid-season move.

But Leyes discounted any linkage of the new contract with Bradac’s departure, pointing out that the old contract had been extended when Bradac was still part of the theater management.

Among the seven subscription plays expected to be announced today for the Grove’s 1992 season are “Macbeth,” “Henry IV, Part I” and “The Tempest,” with Alan Mandell as Prospero. Neither Grove managing director Barbara Hammerman nor the theater’s publicist could be reached for confirmation of the other titles.

Meanwhile, Bradac on Tuesday is expected to announce formation of a professional troupe, Shakespeare Orange County. The troupe will produce a nine-week, 1992 summer season at Chapman College in Orange, staging two plays on an annual budget of about $200,000, he says, of which $50,000 must be raised above ticket sales.

The college, which changes its name to Chapman University on Sunday, will host the not-for-profit Shakespeare Orange County at the campus’s 256-seat Waltmar Theatre.