It is always refreshing to see fantastic works come out of small and relatively unheard of theatres. When I heard that a version of the rarely produced Bent was coming to a theatre near me, I quickly scrambled to get tickets, only to discover that the theatre producing it wasn't just any other plain vanilla theatre.
Theatre Out is a niche theatre that specializes in gay and lesbian theatre, a move that many theatres in the mainly conservative Orange County scene sadly stray away from.
"When we first thought about creating our own company, we looked at the types of plays we were interested in," said managing director David Carnevale. "And [we] realized that the overriding arch was that they were all related to the LGBT community. So, we thought: 'Why not?'"
Theatre Out emerged into the Orange County theatre arts scene a number of years ago, but it wasn't until recently that the drive of their three founders (David Carnevale, artistic director Jack Millis, and producing director Joey Baital) brought this amazing concept and company to a cozy home in Santa Ana's bohemian Artist's Village.
Although their material is based on a niche, according to Baital, it has not stopped theatre-goers from attending. "Although our productions are focused on a niche market, the demographic of our audience is quite diverse," said Baital. "It's pleasing to see interest and support from all walks of life, not just the LGBT [Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender] community."
The company is also gaining respect from the acting community as a legitimate and professional theatre company. "Their performance space is very versatile, and everyone who works there is friendly and fun to be around, yet they always maintain a professional environment," said Travis McHenry who played Wolf in their recent production of Bent.
"The audience members we had in Bent tended to be very responsive and engaged because many of them were gay and took the story very personally," added McHenry. "It made it more rewarding to be a part of that because I knew I was touching the souls of the audience."
To find out more informatin about Theatre Out visit their website at www.theatreout.com.