History

Present Day

With a plan devised, action begins with the solicitation to raise over $1,500,000 to complete the renovation of The Playhouse so current and future generations can enjoy this local treasure for years to come. Improvements to date include new bathrooms, shingling, windows, concession area and lighting. Current work in progress includes improvements to heating and ventilation, updated fire safety and backstage area enhancements. Upgrades are soon coming to electrics and lighting, both for on stage and backstage.

The land that now houses The Playhouse is acquired by the San Francisco Theological Seminary from the Ross family. An old barn on the field is converted into a gym, but is soon torn down in A Part of History favor of a more modern gymnasium. Local architect, J. Harris Osborn, who also designed the original Branson School gym, submits the plans for the Seminary’s gym.

2002

Work begins on the first phase of construction to refurbish the entryway, ticket and concession area and one bathroom. Hope is in the air that additional funds will be raised so the rest of the building can be renovated to include seismic upgrades, new shingles and windows, improved electric, lighting, heating and ventilation, updated safety measures, improved cast backstage facilities, soundproofing, and more.

2000

An Architectural firm is hired and plans are drawn to renovate and update the 75 year old playhouse.

1999

The Playhouse board recognizes an immediate need for new seats and addresses the long-term needs of the facility. They launch the “Name a Seat” fundraising drive, the start of a campaign to fund a series of renovations to the building. Over 300 good, used theater seats are donated from The Sequoia Theater in Mill Valley and installed in The Playhouse by a cadre of volunteers.

1996

The Playhouse in San Anselmo obtains non-profit corporate status and continues to serve the community as an affordable theater venue for many of Marin County’s finest performers and performing arts groups.

1992

The theater becomes The Playhouse in San Anselmo under the umbrella of Ross Valley Community for Schools and a new board takes over the operation of the theater. Its mission is to provide a low-cost performance arts space and to ensure that the facility would be self-supporting.

1980

A group of volunteers establish the Marin Community Playhouse; funded primarily by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation. It is an immediate success as local schools and performing groups needed a low-cost facility. The theater flourishes as a rental facility for over a decade, when funding is curtailed and ceases operation.

1970’s

The College of Marin takes over management of the theater and uses it as their Theatre III. The college later loses funding and is unable to continue operating the space. No group is waiting in the wings to manage the theater; the Playhouse is in danger of remaining dark.

1960

Playwright in Residence, Elizabeth Berryhill, converts the building into a 221-seat theater.

1928

The building is completed and opens and serves as a gym for the Seminary and the community.