Four Vancouver theatre groups open new cultural hub Progress Lab 1422

Four independent Vancouver theatre companies have banded together in opening Progress Lab 1422, a shared administrative and rehearsal space at 1422 William Street off Commercial Drive. Boca Del Lupo, Electric Company Theatre, Neworld Theatre, and Rumble Productions have taken over the lease of the 7,000-square-foot former garment factory, where they plan to rent out a 3,500-square-foot rehearsal hall at below-market rates to other organizations.

“There’s a real shortage of usable and even safe, let alone industry-standard, rehearsal and production space in town,” said Marcus Youssef, Neworld artistic producer. “When you pool resources like this, it’s more efficient.”

The idea of a shared space had been floating around for about eight years, according to Youssef. Two years ago, at the urging of Electric Company artistic producer Kim Collier, the four groups created a business plan and managed to secure funding from 2010 Legacies Now’s Arts Now program, as well as the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Foundation, with consultation help from the Vancity Community Foundation.

The space will cost each group approximately $1,500 per month, said Youssef. “It’s fantastic,” he said. “We were paying $1,100 a month just for office front and $5,000 a show on rehearsal space.”¦We have complete control over the [new] space, and it also allows us to direct it to community benefit too.”

Progress Lab 1422 will have its official opening on Friday (October 2) at 7 p.m.