Why is this important?
Tuolumne County’s performing arts scene enriches the lives of residents, contributes jobs, and generates millions of dollars to the local economy. In a recent phone survey of county residents, more than half gave the highest ranking of "extremely important" to the value of a good variety of performing arts in the community.
What is the measure?
Performing arts attendance and capacity indicate the vitality of our performing arts scene.
How are we doing?
There is a total audience capacity of about 5000 at nine major venues. Most groups have seen steadily growing attendance.
The 26-year-old Sierra Repertory Theatre presents theatrical programming from world classics to Broadway musicals, and is the only Central California company to have a year-round contract with Actors Equity, the union of professional actors. Stage 3 Theatre specializes in new plays and has a well-regarded national playwriting competition. The dance field is currently represented by fee-based studios with limited public performances.
From the Strawberry Music Festival featuring Bluegrass acts to the historically focused Gold Rush Balladeers and Black Irish, the county offers an active and diverse music scene including historic, classical, jazz, contemporary, symphonic, and brass ensembles. There is an active arts outreach to schools program, strong support of music ensembles, and a performing arts charter school.
The financial picture for local performing arts groups is difficult: government funding at all levels is almost non-existent. There is limited visibility for national corporate and foundation grants, and heavy dependence on box office income creates financial vulnerability, which drives programming choices. The city of Sonora recently won a state Community Development Block Grant to assist in a feasibility study for a permanent theatre complex for Sierra Repertory Theatre.