The artists of Rubicon Theatre were in final dress rehearsals for the first show of the company’s 20th Anniversary Season – an original adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas. The large two-story set was in place; the period costumes were pressed and ready; lights were designed and focused; stockings were hung by the chimney in the lobby and a 27-member cast, led by stage and screen veterans Peter Van Norden and Joe Spano, was poised and ready for opening Dickens’ timeless tale of transformation and redemption.
The rehearsals came to a halt when the electricity went out in the building; staff, cast and crew were evacuated, and fires throughout the area came within blocks of the theatre.
Fortunately, the theatre’s home has been spared, However, previews and opening week performances had to be canceled, as well as a student matinee and a Saturday morning Tiny Tots Concert and Santa Party for young children. The company has lost approximately $50,000 in ticket sales and is in a perilous cash flow position — having also incurred additional expenses in order to clean ash and debris from the theatre, shampoo carpets and seats, purify the air in the theatre, clean costumes, etc. Additionally, the season brochure had dropped just a few days before the fire started. The phones were ringing and subscriptions sales were strong, but the shelf-life of the brochure ended as soon as the fires started.
Recognizing that the whole community is affected and that local support must go to basic needs in Ventura, Rubicon is reaching out across the nation to ask for support from other theatre communities.
Rubicon has set up an account for tax-deductible contributions at the following: https://www.gofundme.com/rubicon-theatres-fire-relief-fund. Secure donations may also be made by phone at 805.667.2900 or on the Rubicon website at www.rubicontheatre.org/donate. Please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RubiconTheatre or Twitter at @RubiconTheatre
In true show-must-go-on mode performances resumed on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Performances will continue on the regular performance schedule.
The company is offering free tickets for December events for first responders and for anyone affected or displaced by the fires. The free tickets may be redeemed through the theatre box office at 1006. E. Main Street, or by calling 667.2900.