Our goals shift to theatrical system improvements, with an eye to our lighting board, dimmer packs and instruments. The theater is a recent recipient of a donation of high-end light board equipment that can readily support moving lights. As the years continue, we intend to purchase and implement advanced lighting instruments so that our tenants may take advantage of modern movers. Our advancements provide much easier access to specials that will help light up any show. The theatre building continues to need love and attention, so alongside our goals to improve theatrical systems, we are also seeking to repair and improve our exterior, roof repairs and other improvements. Donations, rental income and our concession sales during performances help us to achieve these improvements.
Our theatre was able to upgrade our vintage seating, opening the season in Oct 2019 with seats that were fully refurbished: clean, repaired and in good working order. While the seats were out for refurbishing, we repaired, deep cleaned and repainted our audience risers and railings. Our fundraising efforts were augmented by the generous donation of our manager's salary by the general manager, helping us to afford these seating improvements.
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.
Work begins on the first phase of construction to refurbish the entryway, ticket and concession area and one of the bathrooms. 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.
An Architectural firm is hired and plans are drawn to renovate and update the 75 year old playhouse.
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.
The Playhouse in San Anselmo obtains non-profit corporate status and continues to serve the community as an affordable theatre venue for many of Marin County’s finest performers and performing arts groups.
The theatre 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 theatre. Its mission is to provide a low-cost performance arts space and to ensure that the facility would be self-supporting.
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 theatre flourishes as a rental facility for over a decade, when funding is curtailed and ceases operation. The theatre does not close its doors however, and moves into the not for profit organization of then Ross Valley Community for Schools, as of 1992 known as the YES Foundation.
The College of Marin takes over management of the theatre 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 theatre; the Playhouse is in danger of remaining dark.
Elizabeth Berryhill, converts the building into a 221-seat theatre and becomes Playwright in Residence.
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 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.
The building is completed and opens and serves as a gym for the Seminary and the community.
Repainting the Stage Floor
Buildout of the new stage floor
Seats Are Prepared for Refurbishing
Backstage tunnel renovation