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Seattle, WA
Artistic Facillitator
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While the information provided by Actors' Equity Association is factually correct, there's some contextualization that needs to be done to make the Los Angeles versus Seattle theatre concentration an apples-to-apples comparison. First off, it should be noted that the 79 theatre figure quoted also includes companies that reside far outside of Los Angeles proper, ranging as far north as Ojai, as far south as San Diego and as far east as Rancho Mirage; cities that, even given Angelinos' noted affinity for driving, stretch credibility in terms of being characterized as "Los Angeles theatres". So, factoring out these more distant companies in reality the number of theatres should really be 58, that is, the number within the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, which covers some 4,850 square miles, as compared to the Seattle Metropolitan Area's much more compact 142 square miles. This works out to an average concentration of 1 theatre per 83.6 square miles in the L.A.M.A. versus a much higher concentration of 1 per 9.5 square miles for the S.M.A. And it should be noted that, of the 15 Equity houses in the Seattle Metropolitan Area, all but three reside less than three miles from the City core, and only one is more than 18 miles distant, which would make the concentration for the the City of Seattle itself even greater. Finally, given the comparative populations of the two Metropolitan Areas - 19 mm for Los Angeles, versus 4.1 mm for Seattle - the number of professional theatres per-capita works out to 1 theatre per 330,000 population for L.A. versus 1 per 270,000 population for Seattle, which would seem to be a much fairer standard of measurement for comparative purposes. So, while there is no question Los Angeles theatre has been unfairly maligned (one might more accurately characterize it as being "overshadowed" by the film and television industries) in the national press, it would be equally unfair to make any correction to the record, as Mr. McNulty quite reasonably attempts to do, without taking these other factors into consideration when comparing the relative merits of L.A.'s theatre scene over Seattle's.
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Nov 30, 2009