We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Bruniges and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauren, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
For me, it was never a choice. I’ve always been artistic, creative, and searching for the next way to express myself and find creative outlets – even in mundane jobs along the way, and even during the pandemic. I knew early on that I needed creativity in my life. I decided no matter what my day job was, I would find the room to be artistic and relentlessly pursue art always. From acting, to painting, to poetry – and these days crafts like embroidery – I’m always making something and working towards the next creative project. Running a theatre company keeps me inspired, busy, and always curious; I go to see as many shows as possible and am relentless about keeping art relevant and new in my life.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

When a fellow board member and I took over a theatre company, Culver City Public Theatre (www.ccpt.org), we were beyond thrilled for the opportunity. We were honored to continue the legacy of this company. We were really excited to bring a more modern theatre experience to our audiences. Prior to this change in leadership, the company was known for doing theatre in the park, shows for kids, classics, etc. Our vision was to push the boundaries by producing some edgier content while being committed to the theme of female empowerment and also promoting diversity among our actors, writers, audiences, etc. We took a big risk by putting an entire season’s budget into a show that wasn’t very well known. We opted to not censor the script and this could have potentially brought us some bad press due to its controversial nature. I had minor moments of panic. I would lay awake at night worrying that noone would come and the entire company could go under. In the end, the show was a huge success. We received positive press and it took Culver City Public Theatre to the next level. Every now and then, taking a risk is worth it. It can be exhilarating and makes you feel alive. Sometimes doing something that scares you is exactly what you need in order grow.

I took over as President right around when we went into lockdown from covid, so it’s been an interesting first year at the helm. This company is one of my main priorities and I do whatever I can to make it successful. I spent many hours working on grant proposals over the past year with help from our Vice President. I was so excited and proud when we received three grants this year that more than doubled our funding from last year.

One lesson I have learned is that it’s important to not define yourself by your current status. When I’ve struggled and taken a job I didn’t want, I’ve always told myself that it was temporary. I made sure to remind myself that it was a step leading me in the right direction. In job interviews when someone would ask me “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, I was always nervous to answer. I would say “I see myself running a theatre company.” It took seven years and it’s definitely hard to juggle while having a career, but I am so grateful for the opportunity. I think it’s easy to be afraid to dream, but if you don’t visualize where you want to be, how do you know where you’ll end up?

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I love planning, I love hosting, and I love making an itinerary, so here goes.. assuming my best friend was visiting, these would be three of my top suggestions:

– A night of karaoke at the Scarlet Lady, just outside of Culver City. This place is divey, full of regulars, easy to get onstage, and just an all-around good time.
– Check out the local flea markets, like the Melrose Trading Post or the monthly one at the Rose Bowl.
– Drag Queen Brunch at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood – you drink mimosas out of giant fishnet-covered legs (think a Christmas Story lamp meets a sippy cup) while eating brunch and watching amazing drag queen performances. This would be followed by a pit stop at either Pump or Tom Tom’s for the ambience + celeb sightings.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to all of the smaller LA theatres that are struggling to survive right now. In particular, I’d like to recognize The Complex Hollywood as CCPT was excited to be able to do a show there and we’re looking forward to another production there soon!  https://complexhollywood.com/

Website: www.laurenbruniges.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lbruniges/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lbruniges

Other: www.ccpt.org https://vimeo.com/laurenbruniges

Image Credits
Caleb Knueven

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.