Turning a bad situation into the community’s favor

On Friday, April 12, 2019, a city sewer line, clogged with debris, diverted 4,000 gallons of raw sewage into the basement of the Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse, home of Theatrikos Theatre Company, in the heart of Flagstaff’s historic downtown. We store our costumes, furniture, and props in the basement and house our set-building shop, dressing rooms, and green room there as well. The resulting building closure forced us to cancel the final weekend of our current show and find an alternative performance space for TheatriKids, our youth education program, to perform its upcoming production of Newsies.

Theatrikos and supporters rally after sewage flooding

We’ve spent years and thousands of hours of painstaking volunteer talent finding and tailoring thousands of costumes and buying all our set-building materials, furniture, and props. We don’t yet know what can be salvaged, but everything will have to be professionally cleaned, floors and walls have to be ripped out and replaced, and of course so many things will have to be thrown away. But as they say, ‘The show must go on!’

And on it will go. Our next show, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is already in rehearsal off-site, and we expect to open as scheduled on May 31.

We theatre people are a hardy bunch and we’ll clean up and move on. Since the building’s downstairs must be gutted and we’ve lost almost all our set pieces and many of our costumes, we figure now is the time to reconstruct with a mind toward rebuilding and redesigning to make the best use possible of the space.

The City of Flagstaff has been wonderful to work with and is taking steps to determine insurance compensation to fix what was destroyed, and we’re asking the community to help us gather the resources to rebuild better than before!

The city and insurance will get us back to where we were; you can help us get to where we’re going!

We want to create a small black box performance studio which can double as a rehearsal space.  Thus allowing more artists in the city to have a place to perform.  Plus we’ll rebuild our dressing rooms to provide flexible classroom space for our TheatriKids education program. Our community, and certainly our theatre, will benefit from additional rehearsal and performance space and with a better design, we can offer even more to the community.

We’re mustering our considerable volunteer resources and inviting the entire community to jump in. We’re estimating that, while the cost of materials and labor for the design improvement are substantial, about $75,000, this is a chance to turn lemons into lemonade.  Rather than rebuild exactly as it was with an outdated design, the sewage mess has provided us with an opportunity to make some improvements.  And now is the time to do it.

The community is already stepping up. Flagstaff High School lent TheatriKids the use of their mini-auditorium for its remaining Newsies rehearsals and performances. The organization also has $12,000 pledged toward the $75,000 goal and has raised a little over $2,000 through Facebook.

Just $61,000 to go! We feel confident we’ll raise it all and will soon be able to be provide even more space not only for our programs, but also for the organizations that borrow costumes and props and rent space from us.

We’re having an old-fashioned barn raising of sorts. The key element of all of this is the Flagstaff community and we know that working together, the show will go on and be even better than before.

To donate to this effort, visit our donation page, give us a call, or mail us a check! 928-774-1662; 11 W Cherry Avenue, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

We will see you on May 31. We’ll be open and back in business, we promise.

For nearly 50 years, Theatrikos Theatre Company, an award-winning non-profit theatre, has grown into a leading community arts organization. Located in the Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse in historic downtown Flagstaff, the theatre proudly offers nearly 70 performances of classic and new plays, musicals, and youth productions.