John Anson Ford Amphitheatre
|Address||2580 Cahuenga Blvd E|
|Location||Los Angeles, California|
|Type||Amphitheatre and black box|
|Owner||County of Los Angeles|
[Inside] the Ford: 87
The Ford Theatres is situated in the Cahuenga Pass in Hollywood and consists of a 1,200-seat, outdoor amphitheatre and an 87-seat indoor theatre. The Ford Theatres are owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles. Located in a 45-acre County regional park, the facility is run through a three-way partnership between the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Ford Theatre Foundation.
John Anson Ford Amphitheatre was built in 1920 as the site of The Pilgrimage Play. The author, Christine Wetherill Stevenson, believed the rugged beauty of the Cahuenga Pass would provide a dramatic outdoor setting for the play. Together with Mrs. Chauncey D. Clark, she purchased this land along with that on which the Hollywood Bowl now sits. A wooden, outdoor amphitheatre was built on this site and the play was performed by noted actors every summer from 1920 to 1929, until the original structure was destroyed by a brush fire in October 1929. The present theatre, constructed of poured concrete and designed in the style of ancient Judaic architecture to resemble the gates of Jerusalem, was built on the same site and opened in 1931. The Pilgrimage Play was again performed here until 1964, interrupted only by World War II. In 1941 the land was deeded to the County of Los Angeles. The Pilgrimage Play continued to be presented until a lawsuit in 1964 forced its closure because of its religious nature. In 1976, the Pilgrimage Theatre was renamed the John Anson Ford Theatre in honor of the late L.A. County Supervisor's significant support of the arts. John Anson Ford (1883–1983) helped found the L.A. County Arts Commission, encouraged the Board of Supervisors to support the building of the Music Center and led the County's acquisition of Descanso Gardens, among many other achievements. The theatre was used intermittently for Shakespearean theater, jazz concerts and dance performances until former County Supervisor Ed Edelman revived the historic theatre, spurring the creation of the Ford Amphitheatre Summer Season (originally called "Summer Nights at the Ford") in 1993 and obtaining funding for capital improvements to the facility. The summer season, which includes music, theater, film and family events, are produced by Los Angeles County-based arts organizations in partnership with the Ford.
[Inside] the Ford, the Ford’s 87-seat indoor theater space, was rented by the Mark Taper Forum which made it the home of its second stage Taper, Too from 1972 to 1997. In 1998 the space was extensively renovated and renamed [Inside] the Ford, following which a season of three productions was presented under the Los Angeles County Art Commission's subsidized rental program designed to help theater companies without permanent facilities. From 2000-01 through 2003-04, [Inside] the Ford hosted "Hot Properties," seasons of new plays and musicals produced by County-based theater companies and supported by A.S.K. Theater Projects and the James Irvine Foundation. Finally, from 2005-06 to 2007-08, [Inside] the Ford was the home of the Ensemble Theatre Collective, known as ETC@ITF, a collaboration of five L.A.-based theater companies that was supported in part by the Flintridge Foundation. Today, the theatre hosts a November to April season of plays produced by Los Angeles County-based theatre companies in partnership with the Ford.
The John Anson Ford Theatres is a center that fosters the excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding, appreciation and accessibility of the performing arts in Los Angeles County. Its programs nurture artists, arts organizations and community, and provide a gateway for the people of greater Los Angeles to discover and appreciate cultures of their region and the world. The Ford strives to be a world-class community performing arts center that celebrates and reflects the diversity of the people of Los Angeles. As such, the Ford improves the health of community arts and cultural organizations through its programming, community partnerships, and the strength of the cultural richness of Los Angeles.