The Cabrillo Playhouse engages in cultural arts for residents and visitors, of San Clemente, and surrounding communities, and promotes the development of theatre arts and skills. The corporation shall produce and stage plays, musicals, children's theatre and assorted artistic talent (magicians, comedians, flamenco dancers, combos, singing groups) and present them to the general public.
In 1953 fifteen theatre lovers formed the San Clemente Community Theatre. They held monthly pot luck dinners and produced a newsletter. At their pot luck diners, they performed skits, invited singers and in 1964 even had Karl Malden as a guest speaker. Show tickets were $1.00 in those days.
In 1966 they were able to purchase a home. The Grand Opening was in June 1966 with a Gala opening of "Bell, Book and Candle" followed by a Champagne Supper requiring tux and gowns. The theatre was incorporated in 1953 and moved to the permanent location with an official name change to Cabrillo Playhouse. Channel 4 TV came to San Clemente with a news broadcast announcing the opening.
To prepare for the opening, windows were opened wide, partitions were town down, restroom had to be renovated. There was a stage to build. Lights located. A sound board would come later along with dressing rooms. Years later an addition was built to hold the shop, prop room and costume room. A patio was also a late addition. And prices were increased to $2.00 and shows were sold out.
We are proud of our history of producing six quality shows a year for 53 continuous years in our current location.
2017/2018 was a very successful year for us. In celebrations of our 50 years in 2016 we rolled back our prices on tickets and sold many more seats. In 2017 opened with "Man of LaMancha" to sell out crowds and returned in 2018 with the musical version of "Madison County". Our successful fundraising efforts enabled us to replace our aging patio with an all new composite deck which looks great and will reduce maintenance costs. Our Special Events including our Summer Shows exceeded our expectations.
Our current year which will end on August 31, 2018 has again exceeded our expectations. We retained our price roll back and again the community responded. We opened with Cabaret again to sell out crowds. We are attracting quality directors, actors, and singers which allows us to tackle more difficult productions. Our 11 special event shows have increased the variety of productions. We mailed our new season brochures ahead of schedule along with our Summer Show lineup.
Every year we plan a major building repair or project. This summer we will be gutting and updating our Green Room for the cast. Fifty years ago it was furnished with donated cabinets, file cabinet, sink and faucet. A remodel of this area is long over due. We are very proud to be the owner of this old building which was a home built in the 1920,s, With the ownership comes a responsibility to maintain and upgrade the property to add to the values of surrounding homes and businesses. Our landscaping has been an example of beauty in this area.
Our current needs list is long. Last summer we remodeled the green room and actors dressing rooms. (Two years ago we were able to put air conditioning in the dressing rooms). We would also like to update the equipment in the tech room, update our Web site, raise the ceiling over the stage which would requires raising the roof, and redo the entire light system. Our external storage area needs a major overhaul. The exterior of our building needs stucco repairs, new eaves, painting plus the trim which will need sanding and some replacement wood and sidewalk repair (uneven- trip hazard).
We are currently conducting a community drive for more volunteers and for Board Members. We try to maintain a 11 member board consisting of business people and currently are looking at two vacancies. Procuring grants and donations is on on going activity.
Board Chair Statement
The Cabrillo Theater enjoys a community wide, positive reputation for presenting family friendly art programs in Drama, Music and Special Events. As with any volunteer group, a significant focus of time is the ongoing maintenance of the venue and the raising of funds to help the entire process.
The 2018/2019 season has continued to generate sell out and vast participation by our local community. The fact that the Cabrillo continues to sell out performances attests to its decade long reputation as a endearing community asset.
Having a 66 seat venue allows for an intimate theatre experience for the patrons but also limits the ability to raise funds. By keeping our pricing structure on the affordable side we have enjoyed wide spread support from families and other patrons.
This does render our need for additional financial support from other organizations and theatre loving donors. The entire volunteer Board has demonstrated year after year sound judgement of expenditures and the Cabrillo has continued to maintained its healthy financial position. However; the need to replace, update, modernize our infrastructure is an on going challenge for the Board.
Funds received will be utilized with respect and sound management to enhance the theatre experience for all.
Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer
Mail check, through TIX when ordering tickets.