A new look for the Theatre Department

Lights, camera and action. Although sounding as simple as “one, two, three,” much work and money goes into maintaining the Theatre Arts Department. From revamping the building to buying costumes, and even shameless self-promotion, when it comes down to it, it’s all about the Benjamin’s.  After almost 30 years, it’s no wonder the Performing Arts Building is getting a make over.

Renovation is well needed. As you walk into the current Performing Arts Building you would find an out dated orange carpet, creaky old wood paneling, and dangly, dusty chandeliers that would bring you back to the 1980s.  With a Budget of $8 million, the building is getting a completely new look, according to Theatre Arts Manager, Michael Sande.

The money came from a district bond that was issued seven years ago, but has been going through a lot of “red tape” as a result of changing architects, having a big turn-over in school presidents, and priorities within the district, according to Sande.  “More than half of the money is simply bringing the building up to code,” said Sande. “A ramp has to be fixed because it’s too steep and we’re putting in a wheel chair lift.”

The new building will have a state of the art sound system and new seating, while the 80’s lobby will be redone with a box office and a concessions stand, according to Sande.

Renovation on the building will begin in June and will go on for approximately ten months, according to Sande.

“We will still be performing, but just on a smaller scale,” said Sande. “We don’t want to lose our audience so we are trying to get them to stick with us for a year.”

The Theatre Arts Department is known for throwing extravagant performances, but how much money really goes into each production?

The budget includes play royalties, costumes, wigs, lumber, paint, furniture and equipment, according to Sande.

“We have all of these costs that go into [the budget],” said Sande. “We have to estimate how much it will cost and how much we think it will bring in.”

In fact, they are obtaining more subscribers due to pricey ticket sales at other performing centers around Los Angeles, according to Sande.  “Our audience has actually grown in the bad economy,” said Sande.

Without advertising it’s hard for just about anyone to promote a single product, let alone a huge production. The Theatre Arts Manager, Michael Sande, works with what he is given.  mbell.roundupnews@gmail.com