When Sean Cox was in high school, he would’ve killed for some decent classes in theater, especially Shakespeare. Now, he co-creates them. And soon enough, he’ll be doing that in what amounts to his own new performance space.
Don’t misunderstand: Encinitas’ new Clayton E. Liggett Theatre, for which ground was broken in June and which is set for completion within the next 10 months, is the answer to a public prayer Encinitas have been invoking since 2001, involving plans for a $9-million, state-of-the-art, 225-seat black-box space whose walls open onto a 500-seat amphitheater. It just feels like it already belongs to Cox and Christy Yael, founding artistic directors of Intrepid Shakespeare Company. After all, they drive past the construction site on their way home every day. Not to mention that their group has just become Encinitas’ first resident professional theater company.
Intrepid (intrepidshakespeare.com), which had been a resident group at Downtown San Diego’s The Theatre, Inc., is now rehearsing and performing at The Roundabout Theater, located on the campus of Encinitas’ San Dieguito Academy (SDA). The move represents a new venue for the company’s Shakespeare for a New Generation, a high-school touring program that includes internships in technical theater for interested students. The Liggett, which is being built on the SDA campus, will allow for the program’s expansion—and Encinitas, Cox said, is finally getting the venue it deserves following an exhaustive search.
“When we established [Intrepid] a little over a year ago,” Cox said, “the first address we ever had to put on any sort of documentation was Encinitas, because that’s where we live. This is a wonderful community, but there was no venue, and we knew that was the problem other companies had, too, in looking up here. We looked everywhere.”
Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalager told Cox of SDA’s plans at a recent City Council meeting, and negotiations proceeded from there.
The move also touches on another San Diego company’s aspirations. MOXIE Theatre, which since 2004 presumed it would eventually locate in Encinitas, has since opted to renew its lease at East San Diego’s Rolando Theatre, opening the way for Intrepid’s relocation.
MOXIE and Intrepid “had actually talked about sharing space together,” Yael said, “but they were able to stay where they are, and we were able to find this. They’ve been wonderful and really supportive. In fact, [MOXIE artistic director] Delicia turner Sonnenberg first put me in touch with the [Encinitas] Arts Commission about the plans for a new theater.”
The companies will jointly produce Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, in which five girls claim to have been visited by Satan, at The Roundabout in October.
Meanwhile, Intrepid is rehearsing Romeo and Juliet, its first production at The Roundabout, set to open in previews next month. Romeo and Juliet is something every high-school kid knows—and that’s just fine with the company, whose commitment to education should spearhead public theater in a once decidedly underserved community.