The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Artist Compensation and Production

Grant Information
Categories Arts , Community
Location United States
Cycle Year 2022
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Ruskin Group Theatre
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Ruskin group theatre company
EIN 02-6577706
Contact Information
Contact Name Mr. Michael Myers
Phone 3104133618
3000 Airport Ave
Santa monica
Additional Information
Used for Any grant funding that the Ruskin Group Theatre may receive from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation will be used in support of artist compensation and meeting ever increasing production costs. Throughout 2021 and 2022 we have continued to deal with inflation, increased wages and supply chain issues, while additionally, we have recently entered a new lease agreement with the City of Santa Monica for a new space, as the building we have occupied for twenty years is scheduled for demolition. The new space (2028 Airport Ave., two doors down the street from where we currently reside at 3000 Airport Ave.), will nearly double our square footage, presenting many exciting new opportunities, as well as increased production cost challenges in 2023 and beyond.
Benefits Over nearly two decades of programming, we have sent original productions on to New York, London, and Austin, TX, and when we move to the new space in the fall of 2023, we will be able to provide more seating, programming, and a dedicated live music space. Undoubtedly, the citizens of greater Los Angeles benefit from our continued production of high quality theatre events, as we have grown into a renowned entity in the Los Angeles theatre community; and in the past three production seasons alone, we brought to our stage new plays from Ian MacRae and Steve Mazur, such luminary actors as Orson Bean, Rob Morrow, Allie Mills, and Lee Garlington, and our most recent, Broadway-bound production, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?. The artists who work on our stage, who come from all parts of the United States, as well as the world, would also benefit from grant funding, as we work hard to develop younger and lesser known actors, designers, and stage professionals.
Proposal Description

This grant will support our ability to pay our actors, designers and directors.  It will as well support our ability to meet the increasing cost of production.  This grant will no doubt benefit our artists and the citizens of Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles.  Additionally, because we have a proven track record of developing new plays that go on to publication and production at larger venues, it will also benefit theater goers throughout the country.  We plan to achieve results through continuing to produce high quality new and classic plays that speak to our times.  Grant money will be used as artist pay and for production budgets.   

Prior to the pandemic shut down of 2020-21, we had our best year ever, producing three smash hits and selling out nearly every show. It was clear to us in 2019 that we needed more room, as show after show sold out while we continued to extend to accommodate audience demand. Since our re-opening in the summer of 2021, we have steadily increased programming and have seen audiences return to near normal sizes, selling out the majority of shows for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?. We anticipate that with the move to a larger space at 2028 Airport Ave., we will incur slightly increased production costs.

In early 2020, we began working with the City of Santa Monica, as they had already begun to inspect our current building for structural soundness (being the oldest hangar at the airport). After nearly two years of pandemic delayed inspections, the engineers deemed our current building unsound and the City of Santa Monica has since decided to demolish it. The building we are moving into is currently occupied by Santa Monica College, and has been for some time. They are vacating their lease in April, 2023 and we will begin the process of moving operations sometime in June, 2023 after the City finishes work it has scheduled for the site. Our current space seats 50, while the new theater will seat 80. Additionally, we will have a second stage, dedicated primarily to music. This will seat 40. Our overall footprint will nearly double in size, increasing from 2,400 to 4,500 square feet. All of this will require more staffing, and as California’s AB5, passed several years ago, makes clear, we can no longer make use of a corps of volunteers to cover such needs as concessions, box office and ushering.

When 2022 began, we could only hope that tough economic conditions would soon ease. They have not. Cost of materials has continued to rise, and as California’s scheduled minimum wage increases take effect over the next few years, artist compensation will continue to increase.  We are committed to bringing to Santa Monica, and the world, theater at its highest level, but in order to continue to do that, we have to meet increasing costs.