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Lyceum Theatres, Home of San Diego Rep. (Photo by Voice of San Diego)

San Diego REP Suspends Productions

After 46 years as downtown San Diego’s resident theatre, the REP has decided to suspend operations while exploring options for a fiscally sustainable future.

SAN DIEGO, CALIF.: San Diego Repertory Theatre has cancelled the remaining scheduled productions for 2022, and will lay off all of the theatre’s staff as of June 19. The theatre cites financial issues, the need for restructuring, the lack of significant funding, low ticket sales during the pandemic, and the challenges associated with operating theatres located underneath an active construction site as all contributing to the decision. Artistic director and co-founder Sam Woodhouse announced his retirement in February after 46 years leading the company, which as of 2020 had a budget of $4.8 million.

“In recent times,” said managing director Abigail Buell in a statement, “San Diego REP has been subject to financial stressors and extraordinary challenges, including major flooding of our theatre, operating amidst an active construction zone, and a substantial loss of income as a result of the pandemic. A large amount of funding from several sources did not actualize, and we have not been able to identify major donors at this time. These events have accelerated the REP to an untenable situation. We cannot continue to operate in the same financial model of the past.”

The board of trustees and REP leadership are exploring options for financial restructuring, including potential bankruptcy reorganization, with the intention to rebuild a sustainable future for the theatre.

Cancelled productions include Twelfth Night, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Grand Master Funk, In Every Generation, The Art of Shtisel, Joel Grey’s Favorite Plays, A World to Come and Shanghai (both part of the Whole Megillah Jewish new play festival), and Angelina Reaux Sings the Love Songs of Kurt Weill. Hershey Felder’s Sing-Along will be relocated to another venue, and Hershey Felder’s Music in the Ghetto of Venice will go ahead as planned, with tickets administered by Hershey Felder Productions.

The theatre will contact ticket holders via email with more information by June 10. While the REP will suspend its productions, the Lyceum Theatre will continue to host other community and theatrical events.

“The suspension of operations by San Diego REP is a sad day in the history of the company,” said artistic director Woodhouse in a statement. “But this moment in time also calls for a 360-degree, arms-wide-open thank you and bravo to the hundreds of theatre professionals who made 333 productions in the 46-year history of the REP. These productions’ legacy of creative achievement is profound and lasting. Standing side by side these passionate artists and craftspeople are the enlightened San Diego REP audiences. I am equally grateful to these insatiably curious San Diegans who have inspired all of us at the REP to reach for a higher ground. Our goal is to bring the REP back stronger, to continue making provocative, progressive theatre, and we’re working toward this future.”

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