Dear Friend of the Masquers:
We wanted to update you on the progress we have made in our effort to repair and ultimately re-open Masquers Playhouse.
First of all, we wish to thank all those who have donated already, including those patrons who have graciously donated their individual tickets or the remainder of their 2016 season tickets. It has helped us get a solid start to our rebuild preparations. Additional donations can be made using the buttons in the sidebar to the right.
We very much appreciate those who’ve asked us about our major fundraising efforts. It may seem odd that we haven’t actively solicited major donations thus far. Here’s what’s been going on over the last two months.
The initial problem that caused our closure—a crack in the support beam that holds up the roof—turned out to be a rock under which we found an entire colony of structural issues that need to be addressed before the theater reopens to the public. After careful inspection of the theater by contractors, architects and structural engineers, the following major issues have been identified:
The building is a freestanding masonry structure. Neither its walls, floor, nor roof are earthquake-ready. To make it safe for our patrons, it requires a complete seismic retrofit, which includes reinforcing the walls with steel beams, and replacing the floor and the roof.
The theater is not ADA-accessible on numerous counts, and needs remodeling to correct that (e.g., compliant ramps, bathrooms, etc).
In order to get the building up to fire code, more emergency exit routes must be created to modern standards.
In other words, a great deal more work needs to be done than at first we thought.
Masquers has received initial drawings from Todd Jersey Architecture, Inc. of Berkeley, the firm that oversaw restoration of the Richmond Plunge. Other proposals are currently being sought in order to determine the best course of action with the most efficient cost and least time closed.
Once we’ve decided on a course of action, Masquers will hire a veteran fundraiser to helm what will be a large and lengthy campaign. At that point, our avenues of fundraising will be much clearer.
We promise to continue updating you as things proceed. We wish to thank you again for your continued support during this challenging time.