Playhouse growth stalls

The Laguna Playhouse is changing its long-term direction due to the economic downturn and has listed for sale its adjoining property earmarked for an expansion project, according to Playhouse officials.

The Playhouse is launching an Advancement Campaign designed to strengthen the theater and invest in the renovation and rehabilitation of the Moulton Theatre, which was built in 1969, according to a press statement released recently by the organization. The campaign will help to subsidize operations by establishing a cash reserve.

As part of the Advancement Campaign, the Playhouse is selling an adjoining property it purchased in 1998 for a planned expansion. In light of the Advancement Campaign, expansion plans have now ended, Playhouse officials said.

“Because the national economic downturn has impacted all nonprofit arts organizations, the board of directors — acting as a good steward — believes it is prudent at this time to end our expansion efforts and redirect our resources to an Advancement Campaign designed to strengthen the Playhouse,” said Karen Wood, the Playhouse’s managing director.


“Having made that decision, the board concluded we no longer need to hold the adjoining property at 580 Broadway. Proceeds from the sale of this building will sustain the Playhouse through the short term and lay a foundation for the Advancement Campaign,” Wood said.

“As we move toward our 90th anniversary, we want to establish a business model that is financially secure, sustainable over time, and one that supports a viable vision for the future of our organization and for the community,” said Henry Mayhew, chairman of the Playhouse Board of Directors.

“This includes ensuring that our current performance space is safe, attractive and operationally sound.”

The adjacent building houses some offices for Playhouse staff.


Founded in 1920, Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating theaters on the West Coast.

The Playhouse has evolved from an amateur theater into a professional venue that is a member of League of Resident Theatres, a prestigious body of the nation’s largest nonprofit professional theaters.

In addition to employing Equity actors, the Playhouse is also a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group, the national organization of American professional theater.

CINDY FRAZIER is city editor of the Coastline Pilot. She can be contacted at (949) 380-4321 or