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.

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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