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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Encore Theatre Company Keeps Theatre Alive in Tulare

Mar 30, 2018 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

Show Time

April 2018

IN 1978, funding for a summer school theatre program in Tulare had just been cut, igniting several participating parents and teachers to discuss forming an independent theatre company. The idea of Encore Theatre Company became a reality in 1979, keeping theatre alive in Tulare. 

Encore’s first production was “Bye Bye Birdie” during the summer of 1979. The success, along with some of the profits, enabled the fledgling group to continue its journey by filing for nonprofit status, enabling Encore to put on additional shows. The theatre company continued to produce two to three shows a year, anywhere they could find the space. Its focus was on family-oriented shows that included young people, seeing that it originally began as a means to replace a summer school program. 

The theatre gained a permanent address in 1983 when the City of Tulare offered to lease them an abandoned house for $1 per year. The house was small and had been damaged by a fire, so they needed to quickly expand not only the program, but the building, as well. The Encore facility is now comprised of four additions to the original house plus the recently completed storage building alongside it.

Today, Encore Theatre Company puts on five shows a year, in addition to creating two kids’ programs and offering introduction to theater classes for kids from second grade through high school. They hold a student recital in the fall and a full stage production in the spring so they can show off the lessons learned in stagecraft, tech and theater etiquette.

Located at 342 South N Street in downtown Tulare, Encore has become an intimate black box theater with seating for 100. The company specializes in musical productions and quirky fourth-wall defying comedies. To enhance the theater experience, Encore offers cabaret-seating style with refreshments delivered by their wait staff in addition to newly upgraded and deeply padded chairs.

Encore welcomes volunteers to help with building renovations, set building, painting, sewing costumes and creating props, as well as helping with their youth programs. •