Melinda Schupmann News - Flash

LA STAGE Alliance, in partnership with the leadership council of the Theatrical Producers League of Los Angeles/Intimate (TPLLA/I), will work with consultants to research the existing business models for theatre companies working in the 99-seat arena, it was announced today. The project will be completed by May of this year, with findings presented at the annual LA STAGE Day event.

Funded by the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, the consultants (M.A. candidates at Claremont Graduate University’s Graduate School of Management Alex Rast and Cong Li) will research Cultural Data Project (CDP) data for companies that operate under the Actors Equity Association 99-Seat Plan; they will also conduct a series of interviews with community leaders to ascertain the various models currently in use. The result will be a series of case studies detailing how these businesses operate, and to what level of success.

“Some companies sustain themselves with member dues, others with income from teaching classes, some have angel donors supporting the bulk of their work, and others have been gifted with sweetheart real estate deals,” said LA STAGE CEO Terence McFarland. “We’d like to set assumptions aside and identify a cluster of models and name them so that companies with similar models can be evaluated and examined on equal ground.” McFarland continued, “The research comes at a time of much conversation in LA’s theatrical community regarding intimate theatres, much of it driven by emotion and passion. This research will allow for a data-driven approach for discussions of sustainability and business practices.”

Michael Seel, Chairman of the TPLLA/I Leadership Council and Executive Director at Boston Court Performing Arts Center added, “Our hope is that the project will delineate the variety of producing models at play in Los Angeles, identify the strengths and challenges of those various approaches, and pave the way for a diverse and sustainable future for our industry. As we move toward the development of strategic initiatives such as branding Los Angeles theatre, the reults of this study will serve as a strong foundation.” 

LA STAGE Alliance and the TPLLA/I Leadership Council believe the research will prove to be a valuable tool for improving the infrastructure of current and future theatre companies in the Los Angeles area.

For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , visit, or visit, the newly launched site for discussions related to the Equity 99-Seat Plan.