Upright Citizens Brigade sold, plans to reopen cinemas


Photo: Rafael Rautha/Right Citizens Brigade

The Upright Citizens Brigade plans to reopen theaters and training centers under new management in the coming months, Deadline reports. The famous comedy brand has been acquired by Mike McAvoy, onionJimmy Miller, former CEO and owner of Mosaic, and founder of Mosaic’s talent management company. McAvoy would be CEO of the new UCB entity, while Miller would serve as chairman. Elysian Park Ventures, a private investment firm run by the owners of the LA Dodgers, also provided financial backing for the acquisition.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCB laid off all of its theater staff on both coasts in a move that many artists and staff felt was mishandled by co-founders Amy Poehler, Matt Besser , Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts. In April 2020, the UCB Theater in Hell’s Kitchen and the UCB Training Center on 8th Avenue closed, marking the end of an official space for UCB in New York. Eight months later, in December 2020, the co-founders announced the closure of the Sunset Theater in Los Angeles. In a letter to the UCB community, they said the organization was seeking not-for-profit status for its theater and school. The letter also stated that UCB would work with Project Rethink, an initiative started by a group of veteran BIPOC performers; community members had also raised general concerns about mismanagement and systemic racism within UCB.

McAvoy told Deadline that there are many “big plans” for UCB’s relaunch. “[O]Our first priority is to reopen theaters and training centers in Los Angeles and New York with diversity, equality and inclusion at the forefront,” he said. “The additional resources available to us will allow us to pay performers for stage time and enhance the UCB 4 Bursary Scheme, which will continue to help disadvantaged students.” According to reports, the new management of UCB will work with Arts Consulting Group, a third-party company which has consulted with the UCB community on diversity initiatives, including the creation of a human resources department and the formation of a committee responsible for overseeing and executing diversity, equity and inclusion. initiatives.

Rethink the project said in a press release that he encouraged UCB4 to engage the Arts Consulting Group to help UCB “become a safer and more inclusive theatre”. The group added that over the past year it had made significant progress towards creating a sustainable business model, but said “the landscape changed significantly” once the sale offer took hold. been on the table. According to Project Rethink, Elysian Park Ventures has expressed interest in a collaboration. “We met earlier this year to discuss what a partnership might look like,” the statement said. “But after careful consideration, Project Rethink has decided to disband and move away from consulting with this new business venture. Good luck to the new owners.”


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