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Financially Struggling Theater Company In Ventura County Set To Shut Down At End Of Current Season

Cast members of "Children Of Eden" rehearse for April 8th opening in Thousand Oaks. It could be one of the two final shows for Thousand Oaks based Cabrillo Music Theater

A South Coast theater company that entertained audiences for more than two decades is preparing for its latest, and what could be one of its last productions.

Citing financial issues, Thousand Oaks-based Cabrillo Music Theater canceled its upcoming season, and announced plans to permanently close after the final two shows of this season.

Cabrillo was hit by the recession, a drop in season ticket sales, plus a reduction in the number of grants. On top of that, costs for using Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza more than doubled during the last five years.

Aside from the cultural loss, the closure will also be a financial blow for restaurants and other businesses near the Civic Arts Plaza, which theater-goers would patronize when shows were being staged.

Two years ago, the company teetered on the brink of shutdown as well, but a grassroots fundraising campaign raised nearly $300,000 to keep it from closing.

Even then, most of the contributions were for small amounts, and there weren’t enough of the major, sustaining grants the theater needed for long-term financially stability.

Most non-profit theater companies rely on a combination of tickets sales, grants and sponsorships to survive; otherwise tickets would become prohibitively expensive.

Cabrillo is committed to finishing this season, with “Children of Eden” running April 8th through 17th, and “The Little Mermaid” July 15th-24th.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.