The company at City Garage has been producing innovative, award-winning theater in Santa Monica for more than 30 years. Founded in 1987 by Artistic Director Frédérique Michel and Producing Director Charles Duncombe, the company creates and presents original works that explore contemporary ideas and issues in a distinctive, strongly physical, highly visual, multi-disciplinary style.
The company has had more than two dozen “Critic’s Choice” or “Pick of the Week” productions. City Garage has received four L.A. Weekly Theatre Award nominations for its production George Sand: An Erotic Odyssey in Seven Tableaux (1998), four more for MedeaText: Los Angeles/Despoiled Shore (2000), and another two for Frederick of Prussia/GeorgeW’s Dream of Sleep (2001). Its staging of The Empire Builders (2004) by Boris Vian was nominated by the Weekly for Production of the Year, while its revival of Ionesco’s The Lesson (2007)received nominations in both direction and performance categories, winning the award for Best Direction. Heiner Müller’s The Battle: ABC was nominated for Best Direction and Best Ensemble in 2006 and won the Ensemble award. In 2007, its “Three by Mee” season received four LA Weekly nominations, including Production of the Year for Agamemnon. The season as a whole won in the Production Design category. In 2008, the company received seven nominations in six categories, including Best Ensemble (one-act) and Best Comedy Ensemble, and took home awards for Best Direction (one-act) and Best Performance (one-act). In 2009, the company earned six nominations including one for Best Ensemble and Best Adaptation for The Mission (Accomplished). In that same year, company founders Frédérique Michel and Charles Duncombe won the LA Weekly’s “Queen of the Angels” award for decades of contributions to L.A. theater. Its new versions of the Molière classic The Bourgeois Gentillhome (2009) and Beamarchais’s The Marriage of Figaro (2010) were both “Critic’s Choice” in the LA Times, as was its 2010 original work about human rights atrocities in Darfur The Trojan Women: LA/Darfur Dreamscape. The Marriage of Figaro was nominated for Best Female Performance, Comedy, Best Costumes, and Best Translation, which it won. Paradise Park by Charles L. Mee was nominated for Best Comedy Ensemble and Best Production Design, and Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis was nominated for Revival Production of the year by the LA Weekly.
In 2004, in New York, the company received an “Otto,” a national award for political theatre, honored alongside Robert Wilson, El Teatro Campesino, and Charles L. Mee (past recipients include Laurie Anderson, Bread and Puppets Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, and Heiner Müller). In 2011, City Garage won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awar for Sustained Excellence in Theatre — the most distinguished honor a theater company can receive. 2015 and 2106 nominations from Stage Raw include Best Adaptation and Best Video Design for Duncombe’s Hamletmachine: The Arab Spring, Leading Male Performance for LaBute’s Break of Noon, and Best Two-Person Performance and Best Production Design for Sebastian Majewski’s right left with heels.
The company’s work with Fassbinder texts has been featured in two German documentaries: Fassbinder in Hollywood, and Fassbinder: Love, Life, and Celluloid. Three of its Heiner Müller productions have been discussed in the book Müller in America published in New York in 2003. The company moved into its current home in the T1 building of Bergamot Station Arts Center in 2012.