From ‘Going Dark’ to ‘Lights Up’ campaign update

  • Thu May 14th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by San Juan Community Theatre

On May 5, San Juan Community Theatre launched the From ‘Going Dark’ to ‘Lights Up’ campaign to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Theatre operations. Following the cancellation of events in March, April, and through the end of the summer, the campaign seeks to raise $193,000 of community support by Sept. 30 to prevent major cuts to facilities maintenance, future programming, and staffing.

“In the theatre, we use the expression ‘going dark’ during tech rehearsals to warn the team when the stage lights are going out. This is followed by a frenzy of activity as the cast and crew make the scene changes for the moment the lights come back up,” said Executive Artistic Director Nathan Kessler-Jeffrey in a video released May 5. “Like many other theatres, SJCT is ‘going dark.’ We are currently facing some of the most difficult challenges since the theatre opened in 1989. At this time, it is unclear when it will be safe for us to reopen for performances.”

One week later, thanks to the generosity of the San Juan Island community, SJCT is announcing the campaign is 66 percent complete with $126,000 of pledges.

“I am so grateful for the support of our friends and neighbors,” Kessler-Jeffrey said. “And of course our Board of Trustees, all of whom have generously contributed to the From Going Dark to Lights Up campaign. We’re not out of the woods yet, but the heartfelt and generous response this week has been absolutely overwhelming. We are starting to look at possibilities for outdoor performances in late summer, a socially distant Playwright’s Festival, and what we can program for next season as we work to continue pursuing our mission of Enriching Community Through Performing Arts.”

During the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, SJCT staff have been working from home, engaged in cutting thousands of dollars’ worth of anticipated expenses, applying for relief funding, seeking new grant opportunities, informing patrons about opportunities for arts engagement, and processing ticket refunds and donations.

Updates regarding programming and cancellations are posted on SJCT’s website,

For those who wish to participate in the recovery effort, here are some ways you can help:

Please consider a gift or increasing your gift. There has never been a more vital time to invest in the future of SJCT. Information about donating online or mailing a gift can be found here:

Become a Member. Membership begins at $25 per family per year, and include great benefits (all of which will begin afresh once performances start again).

Give your tickets. If you have tickets for an event that has been canceled, please consider donating the cost of that ticket back to SJCT. If every ticket-buyer did this, we would be another $8,000 toward our goal!

Stay informed. If you do not receive our email newsletter, email to be added to our list. This is one way we’ll be keeping you informed about changes. In addition, to read the complete update about the state of SJCT, go to

Additional SJCT events that have been canceled:

  • May-August 16: The rest of the HD streaming season
  • May 30: Tingstad & Rumbel
  • June 6: Barbershop Bonanza
  • June 11-14: Spring Street History Class
  • June 23: Summer Film Series
  • June 27: SJIMA’s African Twilight Lecture
  • July 5: New Jersey Jukebox
  • July 19: Summer Gala
  • July 25: Birds of Chicago concert
  • Aug. 6-9: Frozen Jr.
  • Aug. 29: Krivchenia & Yang concert