Open the doors!

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(This article was originally printed in Bylines, the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce newsletter)

OPEN THE DOORS!

by Marilyn Langbehn, Executive Artistic Director

What a year, right?

I don’t have to tell you the past 15 months have been hard for everyone in our community. No one imagined we’d have to stay separated for so long. When Contra Costa Civic Theatre suspended Main Stage productions last March, we left the set in place for our next show, naively assuming we’d only have to wait a few weeks before re-opening. The set stayed there, empty, until the end of May before we finally took it down.

Despite the obvious setbacks, there have been significant bright spots to sustain us as we wait for the go-ahead to reopen. Our teaching artists and students have been gathering in person for summer camp and after-school classes. Our volunteers have turned the grounds outside the theatre into a stunning oasis filled with an array of drought-resistant plants, some donated by the volunteers themselves. Our Board has worked diligently to steer the organization through this crisis. And we’ve been able to keep the theatrical spark alive through our Reading Stage series on Zoom, where we share the work of 21st-century women and BIPOC playwrights. Check out our schedule at https://ccct.org/reading-stage/.

One of the most exciting new programs to come out of the pandemic is our Kitchen Table Conversations, an informal monthly Zoom chat between me and members of our CCCT community to talk about their work, their connection to the arts, and their hopes for the future. So far we’ve welcomed author/non-profit leader Debbie Chinn, rock icon Peter Albin, director Alex Perez, and immunologists Sheri Krams and Olivia Martinez. If you haven’t seen these yet, you’ll find them on CCCT’s website at https://ccct.org/ktc/.

As more Californians receive the vaccine and hospital cases remain the lowest in the country (as of this writing), there’s a lot of conversation around reopening our businesses. Governor Newsom has set a target of June 15 to fully reopen the economy. Like everyone, we’re trying to figure out what that actually means. We will be holding our reduced enrollment in-person drama camps again this summer, but our Main Stage productions will take longer to plan and present. Regardless of when that happens, we are committed to following science as the best way to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our community.

As you can imagine, a year without ticket sales, one of our primary revenue streams, has put a large financial strain on the organization. You can be a part of opening CCCT’s doors with a gift to our “Open the Doors” campaign. Visit https://ccct.org/openthedoors/ for more information.

Thank you for your continued support of live theatre in El Cerrito. We can’t wait to welcome you back!

OPEN THE DOORS!

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