Summer Repertory Theatre season canceled again

Santa Rosa Junior College organizers run out of time for logistics of the program.|

Every live theater company has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic over the past year, but it’s fair to say the Summer Repertory Theatre at Santa Rosa Junior College suffered a double dose of trouble.

For the second year in a row, SRT canceled its summer productions due to COVID-19. But even before that, the company faced obstacles.

Construction delays in the $30 million renovation of the 80-year-old Burbank Auditorium on campus forced the junior college to cancel the Summer Repertory Theatre season in 2018 and use a temporary outdoor pavilion in 2019.

“We’ve been canceled three out of four years, including this year,” said James Newman, SRT’s artistic director. “We’re in a tricky situation. No one can tell us when our gatherings can happen. It was decided we didn’t have answers to go ahead this summer.”

The Summer Repertory Theatre, founded in 1972, normally presents five shows in overlapping rotation from mid-June through early August. Student actors are recruited from colleges all over the country.

“It takes 10 months in advance to prepare for the season,” Newman explained. “There’s staffing, auditions, housing — we have a lot of logistics that you don’t see on stage. We’ve run out of time for all that.”

Newman plans to post performances by cast members of songs from the musicals that had been planned for this season: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “She Loves Me” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Students in Cincinnati and Boston will participate.

“What I’m doing is creating some digital content,” Newman said. “The performers are recording themselves. We’ll send something out on social media every other week. They’ll be short clips, not full shows. It’s just a reminder that we’ll be back.”

For updates check the SRT website at

(This story has been changed to correct the cost of the Burbank Auditorium renovation.)

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.

Dan Taylor

Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat

Do you take fun seriously? I know I do. Tell me what you want to know about arts and entertainment in the North Bay to make the best use of your leisure time and money. As a longtime local arts journalist, I have learned where to look and who to ask.

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