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Thursday, January 05, 2012

WCP: H Street Playhouse Seeks New Home

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It's no surprise to those who recall the sale of the building housing the H Street Playhouse (1365 H Street), but the Playhouse is going to have to relocate. The lease is up in February 2013, and the new owner wants a market rent. I know that the Playhouse has been informally shopping for spaces along Bladensburg (maybe this could lead to a mini-arts district?). According to Housing Complex the Playhouse is also looking down Benning Road. Check out the Housing Complex piece for more details.

20 comments:

curmudgeon said...

I thought the Robeys bought the building way back when. Did they sell to someone?

So much for the H Street Overlay's "Arts and Entertainment District" approach. This sucks.

curmudgeon said...

Ugh. Apparently if I'd bothered to read the article before posting, it'd have told me that the Robeys did sell. Bleh.

Tom A. said...

Boo. I'd suggest starting a petition stating that the community won't support any non-arts business in that space. Unfortunately, whomever rents it will market to hipsters who have never been on H street before. And those people will come running for PBRs and overpriced arugula salads.

Personally, I won't support a for-profit business in that space. There is PLENTY of empty retail space on the street already. Let's keep this one space for the arts!

East_H said...

This sounds like a joke. An arts & entertainment district that doesn't support an organization like this?

Come to Benning Road. We'd love to have you.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Atlas would be more successful if they offered more diverse productions to appeal to a changing H St. Much of their stuff is very afrocentric and they're missing the market of the growing young families and gays moving into the neighborhood. I think this is to their detriment.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:38 -- this article is about the H Street Playhouse and not the Atlas.

Anonymous said...

It's also about the theater district, Atlas is in the theater district and I'd like to see it stay a viable business on H St. What's your problem? It fits.

inked said...

1:38,
The Atlas has tons of stuff targeting kids and young families. They recently had the holiday sing along, and an instrument petting zoo. They host youth film festivals, and events for all ages during Intersections. This summer they had a family movie series, a movie series for Gen-Xers, and a movie series aimed at gays. I think the jazz/comedy nights can appeal to anyone. Can you describe what sort of things you'd like to see them offer that you don't feel they are offering?

marybindc said...

What a bummer. I was just at Black Nativity last week and it was great and reminded me that I need to go to H St Playhouse more often. I guess I have one year to do it in.

Was a perfect space too.

Far H Street NE said...

There's a ton of space on H St for them to move - isn't the Auto Zone leaving? or what about where the Ace is allegedly going in? There seems to be sufficient vacant properties along the corridor to accommodate a playhouse. What about that empty lot across from Checkers that was almost another gas station?

inked said...

Far H Street,
The Playhouse is going to need affordable space. That's amazingly difficult to get with new construction (which both the Auto Zone lot, and the 14th & MD lot, will ultimately be). Plus, the Auto Zone has a multi-year lease. Securing a long-term lease on a cheaper, but still nearby, corridor makes a lot of sense. I think Bladensburg Road would work well. Prices are still low, but it's close to H Street. You already have Jimmy Valentine's and the Capital City Diner up there. That means that people are already somewhat accustomed to heading up that direction. Before anyone starts arguing that very few people will make the trek to Bladensburg Road, I'd like to remind people that the H Street Playhouse opened in 2002. At that point H Street wasn't exactly on the radar for many people.

Anonymous said...

I've never been to Jimmy V's, and thus don't know what kinda crowd it draws; but I wouldn't use the Diner as an example of people being accustomed to going up Bladensburg from H Street, since the Diner (very sadly) wasn't doing enough business weekday nights to keep dinner service.

inked said...

4:06,
I was thinking more of the Capital City Diner's brunch business. They get packed, and I see lots of Ward 6 faces in there when I go for brunch.

Anonymous said...

The Rosedale and Kingman Park area off of Benning Road would be a great place for H Street Playhouse.
It will help with the development of this end of Benning Road. My fingers are crossed for Benning Road.

Anonymous said...

I think they should move over to Rhode Island Avenue. Cheap rent,lots of parking, good visibility, and a neighborhood much like H street was in 20002

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:38 check out the website www.atlasarts.org.
jazz, New Music, theatre for the very young. Classical music, Gilbert and sullivan??


You clearly have never been inside or you would never say such an ignorant thong.

Tom A. said...

I hear that Gilbert and Sullivan is all the rage with thugs these days.

Actually, come to think of it, a thug version WOULD be pretty awesome!

curmudgeon said...

tom a.: something along the lines of the Skinhead Hamlet, or Quentin Tarantino's Republic Dogs?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the quality of the performances there. However, that building was horrible when it was hot outside. The actors and the audience deserve better. Hopefully another place can be found quickly and nearby. This can't be an arts district if we have few artistic ways of expression.

I always wondered how much it would cost to run a theater like that?

John said...

The comments from the Housing Complex article include one comment from the daughter of the former owners of the H Street Playhouse (Julia Robey Christian). She left her e-mail address for anyone willing to help her identify potential options for a new location for the Playhouse (juliaechristian@gmail.com), if interested.

I'd love to see the Playhouse open somewhere near the Starburst intersection -- either on Bladensburg Road ro Benning Road (or any viable location nearby).

ANON 1:38 -- I think you haven't been paying attention to the wide range of programming the Atlas and the H Street Playhouse have been offering, but I imagine that both places would welcome specific feedback, if you could recommend programs you would like to see there.