By Darcie J. Flansburg
After 10 years of operation, the Performance Loft, a not-for-profit alternative arts organization, announced this week the close of its final season at the historic Mitten Building in downtown Redlands.
“The Performance Loft began as one of the only alternative dance/theatre companies in the Inland Empire,” says Loft founder and former artistic director Chris Beach. “Its original mission was to provide a space where dance and theatre could collide and produce unexpected outcomes.”
The Historic Mitten Building’s brick-and-timber setting was often incorporated into the staging of original works and offered a fresh take on the audience/performer relationship.
“The setting itself often provided artists’ an outside-the-box inspiration,” Beach says.
For its first three seasons, under the leadership of artistic directors Beach and Jo Dierdorff, the Loft was a company of mixed genre performers (actors, singers, dancers, circus folk, writers) who worked together creating original works based on a collective process titled “Turn-on-a-Dime Style.”
“As Loft company members moved on, becoming parents, relocating, and/or traveling the world, the Loft began functioning as an alternative arts producing organization showcasing regional poets, singer/songwriters, emerging playwrights and providing a home for some of the area’s finest performers to take on projects outside the mainstream,” Beach says. “Additionally, the Loft offered acting classes, dance classes, Pilates classes, and youth workshops.”
Recent performances included Beckett’s Happy Days, Sam Shepard shorts, sketch comedy, Shakespeare adaptations and youth workshops, along with monthly Music @ the Loft events, and seasonal Jazz @ the Loft performances.
“Audiences could always expect the unexpected at The Performance Loft, elements of chance and randomness were frequent Loft creative strategies,” Beach said. “Whether creating original works, producing published works with an edge, or sharing works in process, The Performance Loft presented entertainment distinct from much else in the Inland Empire.
As of the end of the Loft’s fiscal year, June 30, the company will be on hiatus. Possible new operating models are being considered for future Performance Loft works. The Loft plans to keep the public informed if such models materialize.
Currently, Beach is in negotiations to become co-artistic director, with Sofia Carreras, of the Riverside-based Intersect Dance/Theatre Company.
“At present, The Performance Loft has no firm plans for the future,” Beach says.
Pilates classes will continue to be taught by Jo Dierdorff and will be announced for the fall by her personally through email.
And The Loft wasn’t shy about acknowledging a decade of community support.
Possible new operating models are being considered for future Performance Loft works.
“Meanwhile, thanks to all of the Performance Loft’s artists, students, audiences and local business partners who have over these 10 years supported alternative theatre, dance, music, visual, and literary arts,” stated a written statement from The Loft this week.
For details on the Loft visit www.performanceloft.org.