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It Takes a City to Sustain a Theater

By Judy Newell

Because of the imagination and commitment of our community, the San Miguel Theater Company is proud to celebrate its first year. After construction of the stage, seating, lighting and sound, décor, and public areas, the theater opened in October with the first full-length production followed by nine shows, from full-length plays to musical productions, jazz concerts, and solo performances from international actors. The second season’s lineup promises to top even that outstanding work.

The San Miguel Theater Company is a registered not-for-profit organization run by a board of directors. Board members are: Founder and Artistic Director Jim Newell; Executive Director Phoebe Greyson; Interim General Manager Henry Vermillion; and Members-at-Large Anne Campbell, and myself. Mary Norquist served on the board during the first year, and her skills helped bring the theater to where it is today.

Every penny and peso collected from donations and ticket sales is used to support the theater’s infrastructure and the quality productions presented. It is the only self-sustaining theater in San Miguel and a unique performance venue for actors, singers, and musicians.

Volunteers have committed their time and energy to make the San Miguel Playhouse a success, doing everything from designing programs to ushering, working backstage on tech work, costumes, and set design, and as well as coaching, producing, and directing.

Twenty Founding Members of the organization donated US$1,000 or more toward the initial construction of the theater and more than 30 sponsors made donations to the theater project. The Special Angels of The Playhouse are Phoebe Greyson and Dennis Hodgin, who contributed his skills as architect.

Executive Director Phoebe Greyson noted, “When Jim Newell asked me to support his vision of a black box theater in San Miguel, created by actors for actors, I immediately saw the incredible gift that such a venue would be both to those directly involved and to the community at large.”

“Working on the theater project from the beginning has given me new respect for what it takes to start a community project from the ground up,” Henry Vermillion, the interim general manager, observed. “It took a lot of work and co-operative effort to create the San Miguel Theater Company and the San Miguel Playhouse, and it has paid off,” Artistic Director Jim Newell observed.  Anne Campbell, board member, said, “I have loved to see so many talented people walk through the doors of the Playhouse, joining together to create theater.”

As a board member I have enjoyed the sheer fun of working with creative and talented people. The camaraderie of theater people is a special bond that keeps bringing you back.

Our next production at the San Miguel Playhouse is August 20, when Marianne Koerner will perform a solo concert, Perhaps Love. Then, August 26 to 30, the play Vigil will be performed, directed by Henry Vermillion and starring Ken Albanese and Maggie Bunce. Send an email to to be put on the email list for updates on The Playhouse performance schedule.

San Miguel Playhouse, Av. Independencia 82,


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