FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RE: Masquers Playhouse Suspends Operations to Make Major Repairs
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On Tuesday, March 8, facilities supervisors at historic Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond, CA, discovered major damage to the theater’s primary interior support structure. An immediate investigation determined that the theater should not be reopened to the general public until its structural integrity is restored. By all current indications, this process will take months on end.
With audience safety in mind, a tandem meeting of the Masquers Playhouse Board of Directors and Administrative Staff decided that the best course of action was to cancel all productions for the remainder of the 2016 season and shutter the theater until repairs are complete.
The extent of the damage should be known within a month, once structural engineers have had a chance to inspect and report on it, as well as what measures — monetary and otherwise — will be required to fix it. It will be no small task.
The Masquers was established in 1955 to produce affordable plays and other live theatrical events for the entertainment and cultural enhancement of the greater Bay Area. For its entire history, the group has been staffed and run completely on a volunteer basis.
In 1959, The Masquers moved into the Village Playhouse at 105 Park Place in Point Richmond. Their first production went up there in 1960, and in 1961, the theater was officially renamed Masquers Playhouse. In the ensuing 57 years, Masquers has tackled nearly 400 productions, large and tiny, musical and nonmusical, dramatic and light. They’ve been recognized by Congress, and they’ve won accolades and awards for the quality of their work and for the longevity of the organization.
In recent years, the work produced by the Masquers has continued to garner praise and awards. Like many small theaters throughout the Bay Area, it has weathered financial challenges. “We’re not a facility with a lot of wealthy backers or an endowment, like some of the larger theaters in this area,” said Masquers Managing Director Robert Love. “We’re an 88-seat community theater and an all-volunteer organization. Our total annual operating budget is equal to one tenth of a single show budget at the Berkeley Rep.”
This highlights the seriousness of the current situation. As Masquers mounts its rebuilding effort, any and all help is sought and appreciated. Tax-deductible donations are being accepted at www.masquers.org, and benefactors who wish to do more are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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