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Troupe Raises Most of Money for Santa Ana Move

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Alternative Repertory Theatre, after a yearlong hiatus, has raised most of the money it needs to move into Santa Ana’s emerging Artists Village, where it plans to launch its 11th season in November, company officials announced this week.

The former storefront troupe has raised about $60,000 for seating, lighting and sound equipment for its new, downtown home in the Cal State Fullerton Grand Central Art Center. Opening of the Cal State satellite, where students will live and study, has been repeatedly postponed, but the building should be ready for occupancy by mid-September, ART producer Gary Christensen said Tuesday.

With grants pending, “We have have high hopes that as we get closer to opening, we can come up with that final $10,000,” said Christensen, who co-founded the troupe in a Santa Ana warehouse mini-mall in 1986.

The company, which temporarily closed to raise money for the move, plans to open its season Nov. 6 with its first commissioned work, an adaptation of the anonymously written “Everyman,” circa 1500, by Orange County native Ron Conboy.

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The rest of the season, which had to be trimmed by one play to accommodate delays in reconstruction of a historic building for the Cal State Fullerton facility, comprises Don Margulies’ “Sight Unseen” (Jan. 30-March 6), Lucille DeView’s “A Summer With Hemingway’s Twin” (April 3-18) and Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” (May 22-June 26).

ART will lease its new 80-seat, 1,800-square-foot space for $1,000 a month from the university, which is two years’ behind schedule on the center and working with city officials to find temporary quarters for about 20 students arriving for classes starting in mid-August, said the city’s community development chief, Cindy Nelson.

The students may move into nearby homes the city has acquired through foreclosure, Nelson said, or perhaps stay with generous “folks in the neighborhood.”

Christensen said the troupe managed to retain the roughly 120 season subscribers it had when its hiatus began in June 1997. It hopes to at least triple that number, he said.

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