The Shakespeare Theatre Company has filed a lawsuit against its landlord, a nonprofit organization created in support of the theater, to prevent it from raising the Lansburgh Theatre’s rent by 700 percent, according to court documents. The theater is seeking an injunction to prevent its rent from being raised, as well as a ruling that will allow it to remain in the building. The lawsuit also requests that members of the nonprofit landlord’s board be dismissed.
The Lansburgh Theatre, a supporting organization for the Shakespeare Theatre, was created to manage the theater’s building. Court documents state that the building that houses the Lansburgh, which also contains apartments and retail businesses, is owned by Gunwyn/Lansburgh Development Corp. Gunwyn donated the theater space to the Lansburgh nonprofit organization for the theater, which moved into the space in 1992.
The theater pays $70,000 a year to a trust, with the funds used for building maintenance and capital improvements, according to Randall Miller, an attorney with Arnold & Porter, who is representing the Shakespeare Theatre. The theater says that when it rejected the Lansburgh board’s rent increase, to $480,000, the Lansburgh board threatened to kick the company out by June 15.