PlayGround, an incubator for burgeoning Bay Area playwrights, announced Tuesday that it had signed a six-year master lease with San Francisco's Thick House Theater, with the understanding that the organization would make significant improvements, such as installing air-conditioning and a new lighting system.
The incubator has occupied the the 78-seat black box theater for nine years, sharing it with local companies like Crowded Fire Theater Company and others. Now having signed a long-term master lease that includes an option to lease the theater until 2026, the organization will address issues such as the almost unbearable heat inside the performance area during the hotter spring and summer months, according to Jim Kleinmann, PlayGround's artistic director. This will include air-conditioning, a new ventilation system and a specially-designed low heat LED stage lighting system.
"We'll basically be getting the theater up to speed and bringing it into the 21st century," said Kleinmann.
PlayGround has also launched a $260,000-capital campaign to cover the cost of the improvements as well as the loss of revenue during the six-to-eight weeks it anticipates to close the theater for construction.
According to its website, PlayGround was started in 1994 and "has supported 185 early-career playwrights, developing and staging more than 650 of their original short plays."