“It’s sort of like a Paul Bunyan thing,” said Sein. “I want to bring people entertainment outside of staying home and watching Netflix, get them out into the community, and hopefully bring some new thought to the people in these places and make them think differently about things.”
Last February, the nonprofit playhouse put on a show called “Building the Wall,” a dystopian drama by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan. The play was a response to the immigration policies of the Trump administration and certainly brought some forward thinking to the residents of Point Loma.
“There was a lot of controversy in the neighborhood about us doing the show,” said Sein. “I thought that was a wonderful thing, to get people talking about current events and bringing theater to the forefront.”
But provocative shows are not the only thing the playhouse brings to the table. Renting space at the historic Point Loma Assembly, the theater also provides all sorts of creative workshops in acting, screenwriting, stand-up comedy, playwrighting and more.
Nikki Semanchik is one of the board members of the playhouse and first got involved with the theater by participating in one of their six-week acting workshops.
“I grew up acting, so that’s what initially drew me to it,” said Semanchik of the playhouse. “I just don’t think there’s a lot of opportunities for people who are very amateur in theater to still participate as adults. That’s why this is a great outlet. These workshops are a way for people who had that creative passion when they were younger to still utilize it now.”
With professional shows throughout the year, the favorites being the Christmas play and the out-door Shakespeare spectacle, plus performances at the end of each workshop, the playhouse is a bustling theater business.
Still, despite its success, the Point Loma Playhouse has had problems reaching the whole of the Point Loma community. That’s why, on May 3, the playhouse is holding a 10th anniversary fundraiser gala.
“A lot of older people who are into the Old Globe Theatre, they aren’t coming to the playhouse. I don’t even think they know about it,” said Semanchik, who is organizing the gala. “So the fundraiser is like an introduction to the community, to the people who would love it but don’t really see us or know about us.”
Sein added: “The goal of the fundraiser is to, number one, thank all the people who have supported us. We’re not anticipating raising millions of dollars. We want to thank the people who have helped us in the past and bring in new volunteers to be a part of the organization.”
The event, taking place at the Point Loma Assembly (3035 Talbot St.), will feature live entertainment, wine, beer and heavy appetizers, catered by Seasoned Plates. Semanchik says she hopes that this will be the first of many annual fundraising events for the playhouse and hopes this will give the theater a chance to shine in a new way to the public.
“With how busy people’s lives are, and with the stress of the collective public, having an outlet like theatre where you can go and express yourself once a week and have an artistic experience is just really good for people,” said Semanchik. “I think people would be surprised on the value of community theater and how much it can benefit them and how it can change their lives.”
Point Loma Playhouse
What: The gala is May 3 at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $35-$50.
Where: Point Loma Assembly, 3035 Talbot St.