Philip Lehl and Kim Tobin-Lehl in a 2016 photo taken as they were rehearsing for Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Philip Lehl and Kim Tobin-Lehl in a 2016 photo taken as they were rehearsing for Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Photo by Jeff McMorrough

4th Wall Theatre Company Announces It's Shutting Down

Sad news today indeed. Kim Tobin-Lehl and Philip Lehl, the co-founders of 4th Wall Theatre Company and its predecessor Stark Naked Theatre Company will be closing up shop in December.

They will continue with their September production of Disgraced by Ayad Ahktar and the December production of Reckless by Craig Lucas at Studio 101, Spring Street Studios. Their last performance will be December 16.

The artistic directors have been frequent recipients of Houston Theater awards as both finalists and winners for artistic design, directing and acting. They have long championed the cause of better pay for actors in Houston.

In their press release they said:

"This is to share some difficult news that compels us to say goodbye as theater managers and producers to the Houston Theatre community, to our audience, and to our fellow artists who have engaged with Stark Naked / 4th Wall Theater for the past seven years with dedication and passion. Simply put, 4th Wall is not sustainable because there isn’t enough private and public funding or ticket revenue to keep it going without cutbacks to artists’ salaries, which is contrary to our mission. As a result 4th Wall Theatre will shut down.

"The goal of the company has always been to contribute great art to the cultural landscape and to advocate for artists’ salaries, so the decision to close the theatre was not an easy one. This is made a little less painful since our relationship with the community will not end here. We will become more focused on advocacy for artists’ rights and pay, and we will leverage our first-hand knowledge and experience championing this issue to make a greater impact in this vein.

"We will always be grateful for and appreciative to all the artists, subscribers, volunteers, and audiences who supported 4th Wall. We have so many wonderful memories; one that stands out is the joy we felt during our production of Edward Albee’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? We both were playing dream roles, to sold out houses, with a crack cast, led by a wonderful director, and in designs by some of the best theatre artists in Houston. We knew then and remember now that attaining dreams like that happened because of the support of the Houston community."

Season ticket holders will be contacted directly by the theater.

If you haven't seen the quality work this theater puts out, you might want to get to their final two shows. And then you'll know what we'll all be missing.

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