by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Ken Jacques

Transforming Local Theater

Scripps Ranch Theatre Grows Their Strong Tradition in the San Diego Theater Community

In 1978, B.J. Scott, a Scripps Ranch resident, put an ad in the paper looking for people interested in starting a local theater. The group envisioned a place for entertainment and a creative outlet, and Scripps Ranch Theatre was born. Today, almost 40 years later, Scripps Ranch Theatre (SRT) is thriving as the only professional theater along the I-15 corridor between Mission Valley and Escondido.

mp_scrippsranchtheatre3Every season, SRT puts on five live-theater productions, including new and classic plays, musicals, comedies, and dramatic works. The performances are held in the Legler Benbough Theatre at Alliant International University. “The performance space is a 118-seat capacity theater that is very intimate; every audience member is in close proximity to the stage and actors, which gives the illusion of being part of the production,” explained Caitlyn McTaggart, SRT Development Director.

“Through these partnerships, we present one-act plays to hundreds of students in the region.”

In 2006, SRT transitioned from a community theater to a professional theater. Since that time, SRT has increased the season to five productions and added the new play festival, Out on a Limb, which features new one-act plays written by local aspiring playwrights. In the past two years, SRT has launched New Works Studio, a “nine-month innovative program that provides a constructive, supportive environment in which emerging and established playwrights are able to develop new work,” Caitlyn said.

SRT has also increased community outreach over the last two years, tripling the number of schools the organization reaches. “Through these partnerships, we present one-act plays to hundreds of students throughout San Diego County. Many of the students we reach have never experienced live theater, so it is a very special opportunity for them that they otherwise would not have access to,” Caitlyn shared. Each performance includes a talk-back session where students can ask questions of the actors, directors, and playwrights. Most recently, SRT has coordinated with the YMCA to offer a one-week summer camp every July and plans to launch a six-week children’s theater program this fall.

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The transformational work of SRT, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is made possible through private donations and volunteers. “Being part of an all-volunteer-run organization that has never been in debt, where so many people are committed to its success, is both rewarding and inspiring,” Caitlyn said. “SRT is on the brink of tremendous growth and always looking for more contributors and passionate volunteers to join us in providing high-quality theater to the San Diego community!” Looking ahead, SRT’s primary goal is to secure a new space that will accommodate a larger-capacity theater that offers the same intimate setting as the current theater but with additional amenities critical to any performance venue, such as space for dressing rooms, set-building, and a box office. Any suggestions for potential spaces should be sent to SRT directly.


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At-A-Glance

Name of Business: Scripps Ranch Theatre
Management: Volunteer Board of Directors
Year of Establishment: 1978
Mailing Address: 10755-F Scripps Poway Pkwy., PMB 187, San Diego, CA 92131
Theatre Address: 9783 Avenue of Nations, Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA 92131
Website: www.scrippsranchtheatre.org
Email: development@scrippsranchtheatre.org
Phone: 858-578-7728
Description of business: SRT is a nonprofit, professional theater organization, operated by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. SRT is committed to instilling and deepening a love of live theater among diverse audiences by delivering high-quality artistry on stage, as well as through new play development, community outreach, and education.