Today we’d like to introduce you to Bill Brochtrup.
Bill, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Antaeus began in 1991 as a project of the prestigious Center Theatre Group. Founding Artistic Director Dakin Matthews and Co-Founder Lillian Groag felt strongly that Los Angeles actors could form an ensemble theatre company equal to any other in the world – and set out to do just that. More than two decades and hundreds of readings, workshops and productions later, we are still at it.
In March 2017, after four years of fundraising and almost one year of construction, we were thrilled to open the doors to our new, permanent home in Downtown Glendale, the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center.
As Antaeus continues to grow and mature, we remain committed to producing full seasons of plays, providing professional actor training and educational outreach programs, and utilizing our home as much as possible.
I’m proud to share the title of Co-Artistic Director with Kitty Swink, and together with our Executive Director Ana Rose O’Halloran we make up the leadership team.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Putting on Theatre is always a struggle! At 8pm the curtain goes up whether the set is painted or the costumes are hemmed. The frantic nature of the beast always keeps things exciting — and I think that’s part of why we all love Theatre so much.
As a theatre company, we are always asking ourselves why produce this play rather than that one — choice of material is key. We look for plays and programming that reflect our values: Artistic Excellence, Community Engagement, Inclusivity, Respect, Artistic Growth, Company, Accountability, and Professionalism.
And, of course, financial stability is always an issue for non-profits. Ticket sales alone don’t cover our expenses, so cultivating relationships with donors, subscribers, and Arts lovers and welcoming them into our community is an important part of what we do. And with a bigger space and more programming we want to continue enlarging that community.
Taking on a capital campaign and designing and building a Performing Arts Center was a massive challenge and one in which I’m very proud to have participated. Whew!
Please tell us about Antaeus Theatre Company.
Antaeus Theatre Company is known as one of Southern California’s premiere intimate theaters.
We are an actor driven company that explores and produces timely and timeless works, grounded in our passion for the Classics. But it’s not just our award-winning productions that we’re noted for…
We’ve grown into so much more — we have The Antaeus Academy, a training program for early-career professional actors and our Arts Education outreach programs which allow us to reach out to youth across Los Angeles, especially including underserved and at-risk students in Title One schools. The Antaeus Playwrights Lab brings together mid-career playwrights and our actors to workshop new material as we search for the next great classic.
I’m personally most proud of the community Antaeus has built — actors, directors, designers, students, and theatre-lovers come together nearly every night of the week to explore the world around us. It’s a vibrant community and everyone is welcome.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I think the most important lesson we’ve learned is that if we put Artistic Excellence as our highest goal we can’t go wrong. Keeping true to that commitment has allowed the company to grow, sustain, and flourish for nearly 30 years. I think it’s the quality of our work that brings people in, and then the great time everyone has at Antaeus that keeps them coming back.