Center Stage Theater

Santa Barbara, California

Built as a community amenity by the developers of the downtown mall in the middle of beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival Santa Barbara, Center Stage Theater is a nearly ideal black box theatre. (The drawbacks are that the dressing rooms are shared with the mall’s janitorial staff and there is no green room or backstage work space.) A continuing subsidy from the owners of the mall has kept Center Stage Theater affordable to even the most marginal theatre groups, and it has hosted countless wonderful plays, music and dance concerts, and theatre festivals. I was often in the audience during my years in Santa Barbara (1992-2003), and I presented five of my plays there—”The Dinner Show,” “Trouble,” “Fast Forward,” “Dogs Bark All Night,” and “Turnip Family Secrets”—in addition to George F. Walker’s “Criminal Genius” and “Featuring Loretta” and Maria Irene Fornés’s “Mud” and “The Danube.” I also did lights there for a number of shows, including José Santana’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” In 2001 I joined the board, working with executive director Mary MacRae and technical director Brad Spaulding to keep things happening and happy to support buying new lighting equipment to make the theatre even better. In the 2005-06 season Genesis West brought me back to light Maurie Lord’s productions of two plays by Caryl Churchill, “Blue Heart” and “Far Away.”