By DONNA BALANCIA
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted earlier this week to transfer the operation of the John Anson Ford Theatres, a County of Los Angeles-owned and operated venue, to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The LA Philharmonic is the steward of the Hollywood Bowl, which is across the 101 freeway a short distance from the Ford Theatres. The Ford Theatres venue is named after the late former LA County Supervisor John Anson Ford, who was a supporter of the arts.
The LA Philharmonic will begin operating the Ford on December 1, 2019, and programming begins with the 2020 season.
“This partnership brings together two of LA’s cultural gems, and we are confident that the sum will be even greater than the parts,” said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes the Ford and the Bowl.
The Ford Theatres is a smaller and more intimate venue than its bigger brother across the way. Performances are given against a dramatic and welcoming background that brings the outdoors into the production, with towering trees playing a scenic role.
“The Los Angeles Philharmonic is honored to partner with the County to present and support the broad spectrum of LA’s artistic community in this beautiful and intimate venue,” said Chad Smith, CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. “The Ford holds such an important place in LA’s cultural history and is a beloved neighbor of the Hollywood Bowl.”
The Ford Theatres recently underwent a major renovation that began in 2014 and was completed in 2017.
In a note that went out to Ford Theatres subscribers, “Friends of Ford Theatres” said there would be changes and some employees would be moving on.
“Although many of us will be moving on to other adventures in this vast and wonderful county, we will always cherish our experiences here at the Ford Theatres, especially our interactions with you,” the note said. “We count ourselves quite fortunate to have been able to work alongside some truly amazing artists to create many magical experiences.
“Thank you for making the Ford Theatres part of your summer, for braving the traffic, for climbing those steps, and for choosing to spend time with your loved ones here with us. ”
The change in operators is seen as a positive move for the Ford Theatres, which is located almost right across the freeway from the Hollywood Bowl. For the most part the Ford Theatres, while a beautiful and pleasant venue to see the arts, is largely undiscovered even in entertainment-driven Los Angeles.
Among the many musicians who have played there over the last six months are Wayne Kramer and the MC50 and Moby.
“This is arguably the most beautiful outdoor theatre in LA,” Moby said during a recent performance.
Ford Theatres Renovation Project: