The Complex Theatres and Studios | Los Angeles Conservancy
The Complex Theatres and Studios. Photo by Lindsay Mulcahy/L.A. Conservancy

The Complex Theatres and Studios

UPDATE: On November 28th, the Planning and Land Use Committee continued the motion to nominate the Complex Theatre and Studios as a Historic-Cultural Monument. 

********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

According to the Complex Theatres and Studios founder and owner Matt Chait, 43 years ago he booked a theatre space at 6476 W. Santa Monica Boulevard and just never left.

As a legacy business, for decades the theatre has anchored Santa Monica Boulevard's theatre row and offered affordable rental space for both emerging and established performance artists. The five theaters within the Complex have hosted countless Hollywood Fringe Festival performances, youth classes, and collectively foster a safe and welcoming community for artists.

Recently, the owner put the building on the market and refused to renew the theater's lease. In response, the Complex and a wide range of supporters have mounted a campaign to save their artistic home. They are supported by Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, who on October 21st submitted a motion to nominate the Complex Theatre as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). 

At a rally on October 22, 2022, community members shared moving testimony and celebrated Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s motion to nominate the building as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). The 1928 building has served as a theater space for nearly 50 years, and anchors Santa Monica Boulevard's Theatre Row. The Conservancy was there to support the rally, and we'll be working to ensure the HCM effort is successful.  

 

Before the emergence of the Complex Theatre, the building had long been a site of both Hollywood artistry and industry. The building functioned as a theater since the early 1970s, and had also hosted businesses and offices, including labor unions and printing presses, that supported the Hollywood industry. It is located within the Hollywood Entertainment Industry Support Services Planning District, described by SurveyLA as the most significant collection of entertainment industry-related support services buildings in Hollywood.

SurveyLA identified the building as an excellent example of streetcar commercial development. The two-story brick Spanish Colonial Revival structure was built in 1928, an era when L.A. had the largest streetcar system in the country. Located a block away form the red line station at Santa Monica and Cahuenga, it was built to house multiple tenants who would be easily accessible to pedestrians. The building has been determined eligible for designation at the local, state, and national level. 

UPDATE: On November 28th, the Planning and Land Use Committee continued the motion to nominate the Complex Theater as a Historic-Cultural Monument. 

In the meantime, visit the Complex Theater website and follow them on social media to stay updated on the campaign.