Looking Back on 2020: A Year of Adaptation and Resilience

When we began rehearsals for Madhuri Shekar’s House of Joy on February 11th, we had no idea that its opening night a month later would also be its last. But such was the tale for us and hundreds of theatres across the country. Immediately, we lost our ability to do business as usual. Ticket sales, which normally cover half of our expenses, fell by 80%. We found ourselves at a crossroads. We had two choices. We could completely shut down, lay off all our staff, gosilent and wait until the pandemic ran its course. Or we could immediately pivot to producing provocative theatre in a new medium. While not without other hard decisions along the way, we chose the path of creation and sharing.

Starting the week of March 16th, like much of the rest of America, our staff began working from home. Creativity thrived in setting up home work spaces. Laughter and frustration ensued as we adjusted to new technology platforms and communication pathways.

If there is one thing San Diego REP has proven throughout its history, it is that we are an organization with grit.

A week later, we launched a free online series called Lunch Breaks with Herbert Siguenza. Then, less than a month after it closed, House of Joy rose again as a video for audiences to stream.
Since March, The REP has produced 4 virtual plays, 6 online special presentations, 2 online festivals, 16 We Are Listening Episodes, and over 100 FREE virtual theatre conversations, XTRAs events, and short performances, seen by over 5,000 households from 46 states plus Washinton DC and America Samoa,  and 3 countries.

We’ve made strides towards increasing equity, diversity and inclusion in our organization, including launching a new play commissioning project, partnering with The Breath Project Festival and publishing a 5-year strategic action plan.

Our key words to describe 2020?
Adaptation and Resilience.

[Pictures: Top right: A House of Joy fight choreography rehearsal in February; Above left: Managing Director Larry Alldredge changing the marquee outside the Lyceum; Right: REP Commissioned Playwrights)

From all of us at San Diego REP, thank you for standing with us this year. We wouldn’t still be here without your ongoing support. We’re not out of the woods yet, so if you have the capacity to make an end-of-year gift, we would be so grateful. Together, we can ensure the best is yet to come for theatre at San Diego REP!

For those who celebrate, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa! Sending wishes for joy, peace, and hope for the future.

In gratitude,

The Leadership Team at San Diego Repertory Theatre

(Clockwise from left to right: Sam Woodhouse, Larry Alldredge, Todd Salovey, Dr. Maria Patrice Amon, Danielle Ward, Virginia Bays, Kim Heil, Matt Graber, Chelsea Smith, and Kevin Boles-Lohmann)