UPTOWN — Almost a month after Profiles Theatre closed after allegations of years of psychological and physical abuse of actors surfaced, its theater space has been filled by Pride Films and Plays, effective immediately.
The non-profit company, which was founded in 2010, specializes in LGBTQ-themed works. It will take over both the space at 4147 N. Broadway, which seats 50, and the space at 4135 N. Broadway, which seats 90, according to the Tribune, which first reported the news.
"Very rarely does [a] theater in Chicago open up, ready to go, fully equipped," David Zak, the company's only full-time employee, told DNAinfo Tuesday afternoon.
In June, Profiles Theatre closed to "further the healing process within our community" after an investigation by the Chicago Reader quoted a number of actors who said they were abused by Darrell W. Cox, an artistic director ands driving force on and off the stage at the Uptown theater for years.
The authors of the Reader piece, Aimee Levitt and Christopher Piatt, were told by Profiles employees that the drama and physical violence that had been a keystone of the theater's critically-acclaimed productions were indeed real, and traumatic for its performers.
Cox, who has been a regular at Profiles since the early 1990s, responded on Facebook, writing that "the article’s overarching message of zero tolerance for workplace abuse is powerful and right. Unfortunately, I am the villain in the Reader’s approximately 12,700-word article."
After the "difficult situation," the new tenant company wants to "reclaim the space as a place for people to enjoy the theatrical arts," said Zak, of Lincoln Square.
His group's mission "is to change lives through the generation of diverse new work with LGBTQ characters or themes," accomplished "through fully-staged productions, writing contests, and staged readings, film screenings and special events," according to its website.
In the past, Pride Films and Plays has performed at Profiles Theatre along with a long list of theaters around the North Side, including the Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., and Mary's Attic, where it's currently performing "BITE," a queer retelling of A Midsummer's Night Dream, he said.
"It's nice to have a variety [of venues], but I think sometimes the audience gets confused about where you are," said Zak, who billed the move to the Profiles spaces as a sign of the young theater group "settling down."
The new space needs some tender, loving care, Zak said, but the company hopes to hold its first production there in January.
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