The 1914 theater on El Centro Avenue near Melrose was one of Hollywood’s first cinemas before UCLA drama students, including Charlie Chaplin’s son Sydney, transformed the space into the Circle Theater in 1946. Charlie Chaplin himself donated props and directed productions put on at the venue by the Circle Players, the theatre’s founding company. Over the last several decades the space has been known as the Cast and, more recently, the El Centro Theater.
“When the El Centro became available, we jumped at the chance to bring (Black Dahlia and Red Dog Squadron) together under one roof,” said Dahlia artistic director Matt Shakman. The space was purchased by the companies along with two adjacent apartments behind it. “This alliance will create a vibrant theater center in the heart of Hollywood dedicated to new voices in the American theater.”
Black Dahlia producing director Gaalan Michaelson told Variety that the rebirth of the Circle Theater comes from an “interest in blending into the L.A. landscape… we wanted to name the theater in such a way that it is part of Los Angeles lore and legend.”
The Circle Theater will be renovated this year in preparation for the 2013 theater season. Show info has not been announced yet.