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Theater, Gaslamp

The Rep Says Farewell For Now

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

We were saddened to learn that the cherished downtown-based San Diego Repertory Theatre suspended all operations late last month. The theater company has afforded audiences hundreds of plays, musicals and cultural festivals over the past 46 years. And it recently hired a talented new managing director, Abigail Buell, who we interviewed for our December issue of The City Life (the name of this newsletter 🤓).

In a statement we received from Rep officials, they cited ongoing financial problems, lagging ticket sales since reopening in October after Covid shutdowns, and difficulties operating amid ongoing construction at its Horton Plaza home as the primary reasons for closure.

The company is reportedly $2 million in debt.

“We are suspending operations so we can hopefully move through this challenging time toward a new, financially viable future for the company, while honoring the Rep’s deeply-held mission to produce diverse, socially-conscious theater of exceptional quality,” Buell noted in the statement.

The Rep’s first residence was in a converted funeral chapel in Downtown San Diego before moving in 1976 to San Diego City College, where it presented only a few productions per season. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that it found a permanent subterranean home in the Lyceum Theatre beneath Horton Plaza.

But all may not be lost. According to The Rep’s board of trustees, the company is considering bankruptcy reorganization and operational restructuring with a hopeful goal of reopening in early 2024. Our fingers are crossed.