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Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

1238 West 1st Street, Los Angeles 90026, California, United States

Business Details

 In 1986, The Shakespeare Center, then operating as Shakespeare Festival/LA, presented the first Summer Festival, with performances of Twelfth Night in Pershing Square. The audience included friends, a few earnest theatergoers, and the homeless residents of the Square. 

The homeless took great pride in the production, and each night they became more and more involved in its promotion and management, showing the audience where to sit, handing out programs, answering questions and thanking everyone for coming.

One night, our gracious hosts presented our founder Ben Donenberg with four large trash bags filled with aluminum cans. Wanting to contribute, they explained that the actors could take the cans to a recycling center and get a nickel a piece. 

Deeply touched, Artistic Director Ben Donenberg declined their offer, but instead created the Food for Thought admission policy in response, requesting that audience members donate food for the needy to gain admission instead of buying a ticket.

In 1993, SCLA expanded to offer outreach programs such as Will Power to Youth and employment and enrichment program that combines hands-on artistic experience with paid job training, specifically created to provide an arts immersion for at-risk youth.

In January 2000, SCLA purchased and moved into it’s permanent downtown headquarters, which is strategically located within a two block radius of three Title One high schools serving approximately 20% of the City of Los Angeles’s youth living at the poverty threshold.

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1238 West 1st Street, Los Angeles 90026, California, United States

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