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September 14, 2012

Closure of Load of Fun Gallery has Single Carrot Theatre seeking new digs

Load of Fun Gallery, a linchpin in the Station North District and a center for visual artists and theater companies, has shut down temporarily after being notified by the city of a zoning violation involving "land use and occupancy."

This has sent Single Carrot Theatre scrambling for new digs, just as the company's 2012-2013 season was about to begin.

"Single Carrot is not at risk," said artistic director Nathan Cooper. "We have every intention of playing all the shows we planned on, and we are lining up ...

alternative venues."

The season-opening production of Caryl Churchill's "Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?" will now open Oct. 5, instead of Sept. 21 as originally planned. The location of the performances has yet to be announced.

"We are awaiting confirmation of the space and we hope to announce that shortly," Cooper said. "We are also looking at other venues where we can hold the rest of the shows. But it is totally possible we could get back to Load of Fun later this season."

Sherwin Mark, who opened Load of Fun seven years ago, said he was "still in the process of trying to work out what the violation means. And we're in the process of gathering funding. This will accelerate making improvements to the building we were making anyway; I've been doing improvements since day one," Mark said. "We're determined to come back up as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, Single Carrot has found temporary space for its administrative office at Figure 53, a software company nearby. And rehearsals for the season-opening play have moved to a meeting room at the headquarters of the Greater Homewood Community Corporation.

"We’re a resilient company," Cooper said. "This has slowed us down just for a little moment. During out first season, we did not have a permanent home, so this is not a new concept.

"We’ve been really, really pleased with the support that’s come from the community. The big thing to take away from this is that everyone involved is trying their darnedest to get Load of Fun up and running again so artists can be working, and so this place can continue to be a hub of artistic activity in Station North."

No word yet on how the closure of Load of Fun will affect another resident company, Glass Mind Theatre, which also had planned to open its season on Sept. 21.

Another resident company at Load of Fun, Glass Mind Theatre, had scheduled a season-opening production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for Sept. 21. Marketing director Sarah Weissman said that the new target date is Sept. 28, at a place to be determined.

"We are an advocate of Station North’s progress and have found it to be a home for our growth,” Weissman said, “and we are holding those interests in mind as we communicate with local groups and officials. In terms of our future, Glass Mind is incredibly fortunate to have a network of supportive theater leaders, organizations and community members.”

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Posted by Tim Smith at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Drama Queens, Single Carrot Theatre
        

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog
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