LA MIRADA – In 1996, at the age of 17, La Mirada resident Steve Cisneros had a vision: create a theatre company geared towards an audience made up of his age group. One that took him seriously as a theatregoer and didn’t speak down to him. A theatre company with tickets he could afford. A theatre company that presented plays that he and his peers would want to see and could relate to.
One like that didn’t exist in 1996, so he created it. Right after high school, Cisneros laid out a plan and shortly after their first season in 1997, started performing at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Originally, the group rented the venue and paid for the costs from ticket sales. In 2000, Cisneros approached the theatre about a more permanent situation. The theatre’s executive director at the time, Jeff Brown, acknowledged that the troupe reached an audience that existing programs didn’t.
“We have tons of children’s programs and adult programs,” commented Brown, “Our hope is that his organization can reach out and expose them to all these things.”
In 2001, the City started providing funding to the company and Phantom Projects became a resident presenting group at the 1,251-seat theatre.
Now, with a 38-year old Cisneros still at the helm, the troupe will present their 5-show 2016/17 Season at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, as well as a 4-show Touring season which will perform at venues throughout Southern California. The troupe annually performs for nearly 20,000 audience members.
“Our very first rehearsal was in my parents’ 2-car garage, where we rehearsed our 1-show season,” Cisneros said. “Now, we have a wonderful 5,000 sq ft warehouse, we produce nine shows a year, we have a growing education department, we offer residencies. We’ve expanded and added a children’s series.
“In addition to all that, we also help other theatre companies by licensing out our scripts, and renting out thousands of costumes to theatres all over the United States and Canada.”
Below is the troupe’s 2016-17 season schedule.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged): November 17, 2016
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
Follow three madcap men in tights as they weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies in one wild ride. Starring Paul Green, Jordan Merimee, and Dorian Tayler. Directed by Timothy P. Thorn.
Jargie the Science Girl!: On Tour Jan-May, 2017
This brand new touring show brings Jargie the Science Girl to life through a lively mixture of high energy, comedy and theatrics with live interactive science experiments. Jargie The Science Girl, written by and starring Jocelyn Argueta, a real-life scientist, is the perfect blend of education through the performing arts.
The Giver: February 16, 2017
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
Based on the Newbery Award-Winning book by Lois Lowry, this astonishing and moving adaptation, discover what it means to grow up, to grow wise, and to take control of your own destiny. Directed by Steve Cisneros
The Center of the Universe: On Tour January-May, 2017
Phantom Projects’ longest running show, this powerful production is part of the group’s highly successful TEENS ON TOUR program that brings real teen actors into local schools to perform original material aimed at stopping bullying, racism, violence, and more.
#The Wall: May 18, 2017
This brand new play, geared towards our teen audiences, confronts and deals with the (ir)responsibility and consequences of social media usage. Written by Bruce Gevirtzman and directed by Steve Cisneros.
CHARLOTTE’S WEB: On Tour April-June, 2017
Based on the classic book by EB White. All the enchanting characters are here, including Wilbur, Fern, Templeton, and, most of all, the extraordinary spider, Charlotte, who proves to be “a true friend and a good writer.”
STUART LITTLE: On Tour April-June, 2017
The many adventures—both big and small—of Stuart Little are brought vividly to life in this storytheatre presentation based on the children’s story by EB White.
The 2017 Young Artist Project: August 5, 2017 1 pm
The 11th Edition of this unique series, that features an original afternoon of original entertainment, created in just 14 days, by 10 performers selected from hundreds of applicants.
The Phantom Cabaret: A Benefit Gala Supporting Arts Education: August 5, 2017 7 pm
The season closes with a benefit performance that puts audience and performers together on the stage of the La Mirada Theatre for an intimate evening featuring song, dance, and a silent auction.
Tickets to any of the performances range from $20-$65. Student and group discounts available. Field Trip tickets are $8-$10.
For more information on Phantom Projects Theatre Group, visit www.PhantomProjects.com