The Cabrillo Playhouse's Grand Premiere, on Saturday, June 11, 1966, was televised by Ray Duncan with an NBC crew shooting several scenes from Bell, Book and Candle the opening production. We celebrated our Silver Jubilee September of 1978 with the burning of our mortgage paper on the playhouse grounds…..and now we've reached the Gold ... .plus five! (Pictures of this production from newspapers of the time can be found in the rotating slide-show at the top of this webpage.)
During Bill Ray's presidency the back stage area of the theatre was renovated to make bright, separate dressing rooms, lounge and storage areas, and new landscaping with Marquee were added. Also our image of a 59-seat "little theatre" was changed to the 66-seat theatre we enjoy today with the addition of another 7-seat row behind row F.
Following Bill Ray as President was B.J. Scott, with Ray Benedicktus, Vice-president - a dynamic fundraiser. Together with a super-active Board of Directors they raised $65,000 for the 1400 square-foot addition which now houses props, scenery, and stage materials, with office space for directors and other play technicians.
In 1978 our admission prices were $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for students and military, with no season ticket program. The BOD had frequent discussions about the best way to go about introducing a season series package - but did not feel ready to tackle the mechanics of the system. In 1985 the Season Ticket Series was launched with a 6-play season ticket admission for $30.00. Today the season charge for the 5-play series is $100.00 - still the best value for live entertainment in Orange County.
The Theater co-operated with the American Association of University Women to host acting classes for children at the theatre for many years. The program was discontinued in the late 1980's. Our 55th anniversary was marked with the re-introduction of Children's theatre to the playhouse beginning with a sold out summer camp and production of Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
The Playhouse represents the nostalgic past of our great city. Built in 1928, our building was most notable as the home if William J. Barry, the first city clerk in the history of San Clemente. The San Clemente Community Theatre was founded in 1953 and in 1966, the troupe moved right here in the process converted the historic, Ole Hanson-style home into our beloved, "intimate" 66-seat theatre.
– This History is excerpted from the 1997 writings of Omah Parker | Historian & SCCT past President 1964-66, 68-69 and 77-80
"I envision a place where people can live together more pleasantly than any other place in America. I am going to build a beautiful city on the ocean where the whole city will be a park; the architecture will be of one type and the homes will be located on sites where nearly everyone will have his view preserved forever. The whole picture is very clear before me. I can see hundreds of white-walled homes bonneted with red tile, with trees, shrubs, hedges of hibiscus, palms and geraniums lining the drives and a profusion of flowers illuminating the patios and gardens. I can see gay sidewalks of red Spanish tile and streets curving picturesquely over the land. I want plazas, playgrounds, schools, clubs, swimming pools, a golf course, a fishing pier and a beach enlivened with people getting a healthy joy out of life."
– Quotation from Ole Hanson | San Clemente Founder