SCTA persists through disaster after budget cuts
Solano Community College once provided $750,000 a year to the Solano College Theater Association, but last semester a decision was made that cut SCTA’s funding drastically.
On Wed, May 16, the governing board met to vote on the fate of the theater association. Their plan was to cut all but $100,000 from their budget. Dozens of impassioned supporters came to the meeting. Many were Solano students who perform in the SCTA’s productions. Some spoke out against the cuts, sharing stories of how the SCTA changed their lives for the better; stories of how they found family and purpose within the theater community, how the arts helped them turn their lives around.
Possibly in part due to these heart-felt recollections the board delayed their final verdict, a decision which incited cheers and applause from most of the attendees, but on June 20 the decision to cut the budget went through as planned. The entirety of the SCTA’s allotted budget was taken, no compromises, no middle ground. The SCTA was decimated and left in ruins. All full and part-time employees, up to 18 people, had their positions terminated.
Local actress Princess Washington was one of many who had to watch something they love fall apart.
“Everyone lost their jobs that day. Seeing my beloved instructor Carla Spindt reduced to tears because of the decision to end the SCTA has affected me in a way that I cannot put into words. I was interviewed by OUR Generation Y recently and brought cameras along to show the place where I received my training. The doors were locked. I couldn’t even get in to show the place that I loved and learned so much from,” Washington wrote.
“Students who seek life changing events in this community will never get the warm welcome I once got during the end of my drug abuse days,” said fellow Actor Training Program alumnus Adam Wayne Gistarb. “Without art we as people have nothing. Art is the perfect route for sharing your emotions with visuals and sound.”
Chris Guptil held the position of theater director from July 2006 until he was terminated on June 6 of 2012 by a 5-2 vote from the school governing board.
“Everyone who worked for the SCTA lost their job. The level of support and professionalism which students and faculty had received from the SCTA staff obviously disappeared” Guptil wrote in an email.
Guptil relayed via email that “the SCTA has no employees — just a few people who volunteer their time to be on the board. The SCTA is using Harbor Theater for its production of ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)’ by special arrangement with the college. The mission of the SCTA is to support theater students of Solano College through scholarships, and the goal of ‘Complete Works’ is to raise money toward that end,” Guptil wrote.
‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare’ will be the first production from this new bereft incarnation of the SCTA, an organization which now appropriately embodies the phrase, “The show must go on”, by adapting to, and persisting through disaster. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare will play from Oct. 11-28 at the Harbor Theater in Suisun City on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.