The new scene shop will be housed in a 17,000-square-foot warehouse on Wood Street in West Oakland — enough space to build, paint, and test the scenery that will transfer to the California company's stage. However, renovations to the building will keep the company at bay until April 15.
Scenery for the meantime will continue to be constructed at a former pet shop on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. The donated space helped create the set in the interim for the current staging of Nine Parts of Desire and will also yield sets for the upcoming world premiere of Culture Clash's Zorro in Hell and The Glass Menagerie starring Rita Moreno.
"I'm thrilled that we’ve found a space which can meet our immediate needs,” stated Berkeley Rep managing director Susan Medak in a release. "By leasing this warehouse for a few years, we can sustain our artistic excellence while continuing to pursue our dream to eventually build a space of our own. Unfortunately, no matter what path we go down, we face a significant financial challenge – but as setbacks like this have clearly demonstrated, we can count on our community to rally around us in difficult times. I am so grateful for all the support we’ve received."
Berkeley Rep's former scene shop, a 7500-square-foot building located at 1230 Fifth Street in Berkeley, (just off Gilman Street), served the company for 15 years and contained hundreds of thousands of dollars of specialized carpentry, metalwork and painting equipment for the staff who build sets for as many as eight shows each year.
"We're grateful that no one was inside at the time of this terrible accident," said artistic director Tony Taccone at the time, "and truly appreciative of the firefighters who risked their own safety to put out the flames. Nevertheless, this is a terrible shock – a loss from both a practical and an emotional point of view." Taccone, who currently enjoys his Broadway directorial debut with Sarah Jones' Bridge & Tunnel, had directed special workshop performances of the solo work at his home stage last January.
To make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Brian Katz at (510) 647-2905, firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94704. The company is located on the web at www.berkeleyrep.org.