The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Artist Support Grant

Grant Information
Categories Arts
Location United States
Cycle Year 2019
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Ruskin Group Theatre
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Mike Myers
Phone 3104133618
3000 Airport Ave.
Santa Monica
Additional Information
Used for Grant Funding from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation will be used to support artist compensation. Over the past three years various public policy changes, as well as new actor's union contracts have greatly increased the cost of producing theater in Southern California. The cost of living in Southern California has dramatically increased, thus these policy changes that we are trying to adapt to are a reflection of the economic conditions our artists face.
Benefits We believe that the theatre is a vital and essential part of civilization, of a community that reflects upon its place in the world, and of an overall healthy society. To that end, we seek to produce world class theatre that benefits not only our immediate community of Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles, but also has the potential to move to other venues and new communities. Our audiences benefit from access to an intimate (55 seat house) experience with world class actors, such as our recent "Death of a Salesman", starring Rob Morrow and a host of burgeoning young actors; while our artists (actors, writers, designers, directors, choreographers, etc.) benefit from the creative home we provide and the many opportunities they have to hone their skills.
Proposal Description The Ruskin Group Theatre is uniquely situated on Los Angeles' west side, in Santa Monica, and serves as a home to many performing artists, both just starting out in their careers, as well as variously established in the industry.

Our audience is drawn primarily from Santa Monica and the greater west side of Los Angeles, yet we have produced many plays that have gained regional and/or national appeal, such as "Sideways: The Play", by Rex Pickett, which is now in pre-production as a musical for Broadway, or the critically praised revival of "El Grande de Coca-Cola", which has since played all over the world. In the past year, we produced "Death of a Salesman", as well as two new plays: "The Joy Wheel", by Ian MacRae, directed by Jason Alexander, and "Bad Habits", by Steve Mazur, starring Orson Bean and Ally Mills. Though we routinely work with well-known entities, such as Jason Alexander, or Orson Bean, we primarily serve as home to many "struggling" artists who are gaining a footing in their careers. Our stage is a place that they can work with and learn from the vast experience of someone like Orson Bean, to gain contacts with managers and agents who frequent our productions, and to just gain emotional support for the hard work that this is.

In recent years, the Equity Actors Association re-negotiated terms with small theaters in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas, and as a result, the cost to our theater increased by roughly 50%. In 2017, the City of Santa Monica mandated a $15/hour minimum wage by the year 2021, with incremental increases each year (it now stands at $13.75/hour); and in 2018, the State of California changed business employment rules for most private contracting, thus making all privately contracted hires employees of the theater. In effect, what were temporary contract hires for specific jobs, (ie. acting, design, etc.), are now employee hires, thus necessitating a great deal more accounting work, including payments to Social Security, Workers Comp, Disability, etc. All in all, these changes over the past two years have increased our overall operational budget by an astounding 33%.

We will use any and all grant funds that may be awarded to us by the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation in support of artist compensation. In doing so, we hope to continue to be a home to many wonderful theater artists in the Los Angeles area; which in turn will enable us to continue to serve our community, near and far, with world class theater in an intimate setting.