Salt Lake Repertory Theater has filed a $155,000 breach-of-contract countersuit against Salt Lake County in response to the county's suit, which seeks back rent for the theater company's use of the county-owned Capitol Theater.

The counterclaim also alleges the county violated Utah's right-to-work laws in its dealings with City Rep and interfered with the financially-troubled theater company's business activities.County officials said at one time they thought they had reached agreement with City Rep on a $12,000 settlement of the company's back rent. But when City Rep didn't pay anything by the negotiated deadline, the county sued for the entire $24,000 in back rent it claims it is owed.

The City Rep counterclaim says the county violated its contract with the theater company twice in 1986, once by closing the Capitol Theater box office, preventing City Rep from selling tickets, and again by cancelling performance dates for alleged nonpayment of rent.

The countersuit also alleges the county violated right-to-work laws by forcing City Rep to hire union labor, which added significantly to the theater company's costs.

The county interfered with City Rep's business by allowing the theater company's competitors to stage productions in the Capitol Theater on performance dates reserved for City Rep, the counterclaim charges.