Nonprofit Spotlight: 24th Street Theatre


Teatro del Pueblo project at the 24th St. Theatre | Daina Beth Solomon

What is the 24th Street Theatre’s purpose? To engage, educate, and provoke our diverse community with excellent theatre and arts education.

When was the 24th Street Theatre founded? 1997

Which areas does the 24th Street Theatre serve? North University Park and surrounding areas

What services does the  24th Street Theatre provide? Arts Education, free after-school programming with snacks, and professional performances for the community from Los Angeles and around North America. Our shows cost only 24 cents for neighborhood residents.

What are the 24th Street Theatre’s recent accomplishments? Winner of the 2012 Peter Zeisler Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre.

Video Courtesy of the 24th Street Theatre Youtube Channel

Art Education Workshop | Photo Courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

Art Education Workshop | Photo Courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

What does the the 24th Street Theatre consider as…

…top safety issues in South L.A.? Youth need more things to do during non-school hours. I feel very safe in this neighborhood, but USC students need to realize when they aren’t on campus that they are in the inner city. They constantly ride their bikes while texting or just randomly bike into traffic without paying attention. I also think getting the students out to volunteer in the neighborhood would help with community relations. We have some excellent USC work study students here that work closely with neighborhood youth and are great role models to them.

…top education issues in South L.A.?  There are some great youth here in our community that need help with finding options post high school, including how and when to apply for college, and career options.

What are  the 24th Street Theatre affiliated programs? The Saturday Explorer Series, Leadership Academy,

Hours: Noon to 6, Monday through Friday, with performances occasionally on Saturdays and Sundays.

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @24thST

Contact info: Jennie McInnis, Executive Assistant, [email protected], 213.745.6516.

Photo courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

Photo courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

Theater review: ‘Tears of Sweet Water’ at the 24th Street Theatre

This article was first published in

“Lagrimas de Agua Dulce,” or “Tears of Sweet Water” fully utilizes what theater as an art form uniquely offers—the ability to interact with its audience. “Tears of Sweet Water” is a play for the young andTears of sweet water old alike, with components to keep both parts of the audience engaged.

The play begins with a woman (played by Ana Zavala)  in a traditional Mexican attire—skirt, apron, braided hair and a blouse with puffed sleeves—introducing herself to the viewers as an old woman who talks to herself to keep loneliness at bay.

She then goes on to tell the story of her granddaughter Sofia, by introducing puppets of Sofia and her friend Filipe. Zavala plays out a scene between Sofia and Filipe where Sofia confesses that when she cries, she cries buckets and her tears are sweet. Zavala gives life to her puppets by depicting their humanistic characteristics and mimicking their childlike voices. Within seconds, we forget Ana and start following the puppets. [Read more…]

South LA Democratic Space: 24th Street Theatre

Jay McAdams, Executive Director of 24th Street Theatre.

What began simply as a place for the production of plays has developed into a unique and important community institution. The 24th Street Theatre offers high-quality professional theatre for all ages, showcases the works of local artists, operates arts education programs with neighborhood youth, and is an innovator in Spanish-language shows and events.

Built in the 1920s as a Carriage House, the big green doors of the 24th Street Theatre are always wide open, inviting members of the neighborhood to stop in, to be entertained, and to participate as members of a dynamic artistic community.

Jay, who has worked in South LA for 15 years, recounted how he and his colleagues “didn’t choose 24th Street Theatre to be a democratic space, it chose to be a democratic space. The neighborhood dictated what 24th Street Theatre became. Once we set up camp here, we realized we could not just do art for art’s sake, but had to respond to what the environment needed of our art and space.”

Originalmente construido en los 1920s como una casa de transporte, las puertas verdes de 24th Street Theater siempre están abiertas, invitando a miembros de la comunidad a visitar, ser entretenidos y participar en la programación de actividades artísticas.

« Back to all South LA Democratic Spaces

Review of “Rome at the End of the Line”

By Sarah Fisch

When I heard that in “Rome at the End of the Line,” a contemporary Mexican play in which there are only two actors and each actress portrays each character between the ages of 7 and 80, I was highly dubious. This presents a quandary for both performers and audience; the actors must render a whole world within the confines of one stage, in the space of an evening. As for the viewers, we have to leave aside our expectations and engage wholeheartedly or not at all.

imageJulieta Ortiz and Norma Angelica in “Rome at the End of the Line.” Photo by Andrea Lopez.

Last Saturday night was the first time this work, written by Daniel Serrano and and directed by Alberto Lomnitz, appeared anywhere in the U.S. In this portrait of a friendship between two women in Mexico, Evangelina and Emilia hang out on the train tracks, sharing dreams of an imaginary Rome. As little girls, as teenagers, as married women, and up until they are old ladies, they joke around, bicker and prepare a wild escape to Rome. It is a dangerous mission and an unlikely one, but they mean to flee their parents, their boyfriends (and later, marital) issues, and the confining identity their small town have bestowed on them.

We do not learn specifically where the girls live, and it doesn’t much matter except that it’s far-flung from cultural centers. To the girls, “Rome” means a kind of Mecca of the Mexican soul. Rome refers to the ancient city, but more importantly it symbolizes ​​freedom, escape, hope and the girlhood ambitions that the two women share.

Rome sometimes reminds me of “Waiting for Godot:” Whether the girls succeed in reaching “Roma” is up to you. Meanwhile, the journey is full of surprisingly earthy discussions on sexuality, which brought the teenagers sitting behind me to gales of laughter.

In less expert hands of artists of Norma Angelica and Julieta Ortiz, this proposition would have been a disaster. It’s good luck that these women steer the performance with brilliant clarity, deep respect for women, and with hearts as large as any city in the world. The audience on Saturday night embraced the show completely, and for good reason.

This performance is suitable for those twelve years of age and older. It would be a great experience for mothers, daughters and granddaughters.

Go see ROMA AL FINAL DE LA VIA / ROME AT THE END OF THE LINE, Presentada en Español con subtítulos / presented in Spanish with English subtitles.

Cuando supe que en la obra mexicana Roma al Final de la Vía hay solamente dos actrices y que ambas escenifican a sus personajes desde su infancia hasta la vejez me preocupé mucho. Para un artista, hacer esto es muy complicado pues debe interpretar una vida entera entre las dimensiones del escenario. Para el público, observar una obra de este tipo también presenta un desafío pues debemos liberarnos de la prisión de las expectativas y entrar de lleno en el experimento.

Norma Angelica and Julieta Ortiz in “Rome at the End of the Line.” Photo by Andrea Lopez.

El sábado pasado, esta obra escrita por Daniel Serrano y dirigida por Alberto Lomnitz debutó en los Estados Unidos. El montaje aborda la historia de Emilia y Evangelina, dos mujeres mexicanas cuya ilusión es viajar a Roma en el tren que pasa por las orillas de su pueblo. Primero como niñas, luego como mujeres y finalmente como viejitas, estas amigas hacen bromas, argumentan mucho, y preparan una fuga a — claro, Roma. Es una misión peligrosa (y poco probable), pero quieren arrancar de sus padres, de los problemas del amor joven (y después, del matrimonio), y del tipo de vida que se vive en un pueblo pequeño. No sabemos dónde específicamente viven las chicas, pero realmente no importa. Lo significativo es que viven en un lugar bien alejado de los centros culturales. Para las mujeres,”Roma” significa un tipo de meca del alma mexicana. La palabra se refiere a la ciudad, pero lo más importante es la idea de la libertad, la huida, la esperanza y la ambición de infancia que comparten estas dos mujeres. Roma a veces me recuerda a “Esperando a Godot”: Si la mujeres llegaron o no a Roma depende de la interpretación del observador. Lo cierto, es que este viaje está lleno de debates sorprendentemente honestos sobre la sexualidad, lo que hizo a las dos muchachas sentadas detrás de mí reír a carcajadas.

En las manos de artistas menos peritos que Norma Angélica y Julieta Ortiz, esta proposición hubiera sido un desastre. Estas mujeres actúan con una claridad brillante, con un respeto profundo hacia el corazón de las mujeres, y con unas ganas gigantescas. El público realmente disfruto el espectáculo.

Este obra es adecuada para personas mayores de doce años. Es una gran experiencia para madres, hijas y nietas. Vayan a verla.

Hasta el 7 de Octubre / Through October 7 at The 24th Street Theatre
1117 West 24th Street
(213) 745-6516

24th STreet Theatre in South LA announces new season

The 24th STreet Theatre on 24th Street and Hoover Street is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The South LA theatre has been producing Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA), but as executive director Jay McAdams says, “…if we didn’t label the shows as TYA, most adults might not even know the difference. Our mission is to produce theater that parents and children can enjoy together, art that speaks to all audiences, regardless of age.”

Here is the line-up for the new season:

Sept. 15 – Oct. 7:
imageRome at the End of the Line (Roma al Final de la Via) — 24th STreet Theatre partners with Mexico’s Viaje Redondo Producciones on the U.S. premiere of a whimsical and poignant story about friendship that spans a lifetime. Seven-year-olds Emilia and Evangelina—born a few days apart in a small Mexican town–walk together to the train tracks with the child-like hope of boarding it and traveling to Rome. From that moment, their lives are forever tied together. The two return to the tracks five more times—at ages 13, 20, 40, 60 and 80—to share their dreams, worries and love stories. Performed in Spanish with English Supertitles. (PG 13 – ages 12+)

Oct. 19-21:
imageNearly Lear – 24th STreet Theatre brings Canada’s international touring production to the U.S. for a one weekend only Los Angeles premiere. In this mischievous one-woman tour-de-force adaptation of King Lear, Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool—and every other character—to tell a very personal and poignant story with breathtaking hilarity and heartache. Upending expectations, Nearly Lear blends exuberant storytelling, music and film with Shakespeare’s poetic text to usher the audience firmly into the heart of this great story. Welcome to a Lear that is profoundly accessible and fun, while serving the spirit, language and emotional core of the play. (Rated PG – 7+)

Jan. 26-March 31:
imageWalking the Tightrope – 24th STreet Theatre introduces its new in-house TYA company LAB24 with the West Coast premiereof British playwright Mike Kenny’s gentle, funny play. Five-year-old Esme arrives to stay with her grandparents at the end of summer, just like she does every year. But this time, something’s different: Nanna isn’t here, and Granddad doesn’t know how to tell her that Nanna isn’t coming back. This magical play, full of moments of remembered childhood, explores a child’s first experience with loss and celebrates the special bond shared by grandparents and grandchildren. The play was the first recipient of Art Council England’s Award for Playwriting for Children & Young People (Rated G – ages 4+)

April 20-28:
imageHuraclown – 24th STreet Theatre hosts acclaimed Mexican clown Aziz Gual for a limited six-performance engagement. Not your ordinary, everyday clown, Aziz forges a unique connection with both adults and children, leading the audience on a hilarious, poignant and poetic journey that illuminates life’s profound sorrows and great joys. (Rated G – ages 4+)

For more information, call (213) 745-6516 or visit online at