Arts Desk

Pinky Swear Productions, Facing a Permit-Related Shut-Down, Gets a Hand From Capital Fringe

Update appended

Yesterday afternoon, it looked like Pinky Swear Productions' mounting of Killing Women at Spooky Action Theater might be doomed. "Due to the complaint of a nasty neighbor to the church/spooky action about usage permits, Killing Women may be shut down," the troupe's co-artistic director, Karen Lange, tweeted at 2:41 p.m. "If anyone knows of any alternate space for us in that horrible event, please let us know. We are sick with worry."

Less than two hours later, Pinky Swear was in the clear. Not because the District's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs gave the company a pass—an inspection is scheduled—but thanks to the Capital Fringe Festival. In the event that Pinky Swear cannot perform in Spooky Action's black-box space in the basement of the Universalist National Memorial Church on 16th Street NW, the troupe will be able to move Killing Women to the lobby of Fort Fringe on New York Avenue NW.

Killing Women is only Pinky Swear’s second full production, and before Fringe’s offer, co-artistic director Allyson Harkey told Arts Desk she was worried that losing the show might “kill the company.” That's why Pinky Swear put out an APB to the D.C. theater community via email, Twitter, and Facebook.

Capital Fringe Executive Director Julianne Brienza saw one of the tweets and told Pinky Swear to give Fringe a call. “We don’t typically don’t rent our space at this time because it’s really busy for us during the festival,” which starts in July, Brienza says. “We also have so much stuff that’s in our lobby, but I really don’t know if there’s anyplace else they can go. They would just have to cancel, which seems like a shame, so we’re going to try to figure it out and make it work.”

Fringe has used Spooky Action's space in the past, and experienced a similar problem with the theater last year. "There was a neighbor there that didn’t really like that we had an audience coming to the theater Spooky Action had built," Brienza says.  "And so we were actually not able to go back to use that space this year because of that." Reached by Arts Desk, Spooky Theater didn't offer any details about the current complaint against Pinky Swear, but a representative said there's nothing to indicate it's the same person who took issue with Fringe's use.

Pinky Swear got its start with Fringe, performing at the summer festival for the past four years. “I’m really grateful to them for supporting and taking care of their own,” says Lange. “They’ve made it possible for a lot of small companies to start in D.C., and the fact that they are willing to put themselves out there to help us continue is really fantastic.” Lange also appreciated the outpouring of support in getting the word out. “I think the theater community really rallied to our cause today,” Lange says. “I’m very humbled and grateful.”

Harkey says Pinky Swear probably won’t know until Thursday if it can stay at Spooky Action Theater, following DCRA's inspection. “We really hope not to have to leave Spooky Action, we really hope to continue to be able to do our show there, but knowing that we have an alternative is a giant, giant load off my mind,” Lange says. “It’s not going to be easy if we have to move, but it’s theater. If we have to do it, the show must go on.”

Update, 1:28 p.m. Pinky Swear tweets: "So it looks like we're in the clear for the moment. There are some issues, but nothing that should affect our show for the run," adding, "I want to make clear that Spooky Action reacted quickly & expedited the inspection. They came through for us in the end."

The play, which opened April 18, continues through May 12. Somewhere. $20.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Catherine Aselford

    Gee, what's WRONG with these people? Why would anyone want to complain about having a theatre in their neighborhood...I mean, it's not like the sounds of the show could be heard outside the church on the street.

    Yay to Julianne for giving Pinky Swear an alternative!

    You go, Girls!

  • http://www.pinkyswear-productions.com Karen

    Ashley - thank you so much for caring enough to cover our story. We're hoping to find out the verdict, soon. The sad thing about this is that small theater companies like ours often have only 10 or so people a night. We work our butts off for those 10 people. I wish there were more, and the guy who complained just makes it all the harder for us to continue to grow. We desperately want to live our dream and become a consistent presence. It's a shame that some people dont' support that.

  • Scott

    It seems disingenuous to blame the neighbor over something that, quite frankly, isn't their fault. Blame Spooky Action Theater if one must blame someone else (although one would hope that these kinds of things would have been covered during the signing of a contract), but don't blame the neighbor; it's not at all their fault.

  • http://www.pinkyswear-productions.com Karen

    I don't think SA could have predicted this would happen. The agreement between them and the church is on the up & up. I don't understand the granularity of the permit or inspection system, so I can't comment on that. All I know is that I got a call from the DCRA yesterday & we suddenly had a problem.

    I don't blame Spooky Action. I don't actually care to blame anyone - I'm just glad our show will go on which is all we want in the first place.

...