Founder Announces Major Changes for Bailiwick

Mon. September 8, 2008 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Citing a great financial burden, Bailiwick to leave space at year's end

Chicago, IL - Last week Bailiwick Repertory founder and artistic director David Zak responded to rumors that the theatre was closing and that he had left town.

"I've heard those rumors," Zak told Windy City Times. "There are changes down the road, and I'll be sure to let you know," he said, adding, "we are looking forward to an exciting Pride series in September and October."

Saturday, Zak addressed some of the changes in an email sent to Bailiwick subscribers which included news that the Bailiwick is leaving the space it's occupied for 15 years.

"I wanted to let you know about a coming change for Bailiwick," said Zak. "It marks the end of an era, but we are not closing or shutting down. After all, we have after all made changes in venue in the past, from Jane Addams Hull House down the street to Belmont Avenue, and I know that change has always been an important part of the company's long term health."

According to Zak, Jeremy Wechsler and Theatre Wit will take over the Bailiwick space at 1229 W. Belmont in the New Year. Zak cited a "great financial burden" and the need for "constant repairs" on the older space. This three-theater complex includes a 150-seat theatre, 90-seat studio and 40-seat loft.

Some of the financial burden facing the Bailiwick are a number of lawsuits filed against the 25 year-old theatre company. According to filings with the Cook County Circuit Court, several production companies have been in litigation with the Bailwick, including Avalon Productions, owners of the performance rights to 'Jerry Springer, The Opera.'

"I am very excited about the prospect of moving our programming into another more manageable venue," Zak continued. "We are planning for Pride 2009 for summer, and have plans for other events elsewhere while we continue to search for a permanent space."

Bailiwick programming, including The Pride Series in September and October, The Trailblazer Awards, 'The Christmas Schooner' and other shows booked in the theatre, will continue through December 31, 2008.

The Pride Series at the Bailiwick opens this week, and the Trailblazer Awards are October 12.