SOLANA BEACH — The newly established Solana Beach Community Theater just wrapped up its first show over the weekend with a youth production of “Cinderella.”
Started by longtime Solana Beach resident Jolene Dodson Bogard, the new theater venture aims to bring a fun and affordable children’s theatre to North County.
Dodson Bogard was born and raised in Solana Beach and is the daughter of Marion Dodson, a former Solana Beach mayor and council member.
After graduating from USC’s Cinema School, Dodson Bogard pursued film and TV production in Hollywood, Malibu, and even traveled the world for more than a decade before returning to Solana Beach a few years ago. Over the years, Dodson Bogard taught theater and improv classes at Fountain Valley’s ClubHouse Theatre, Huntington Beach High School and North Coast Repertory Theatre.
Eventually, she recognized a desperate need for a local youth theater in North County. Dodon Bogard started her production company, Hey Jojo Productions, which is supported by the newly formed community theater.
“There is no community theater in North County, and what it’s going to do is support, not just Hey Jojo Productions, but other arts programs,” Dodson Bogard said.
The Solana Beach Community Theater also offers classes to kids on subjects ranging from photography, to painting, to creative writing and much more. It also provides scholarships to kids who can’t afford to be a part of the program.
“My whole thing is just to support the arts. It doesn’t have to just be me, and it’s all arts programs in general because kids are depressed right now and they are going through a lot, but art actually heals,” Dodson Bogard said.
The theater’s first production of “Cinderella,” which they performed at Ritz Theater in Escondido, wrapped over the weekend and was a huge hit among theatergoers.
Dodson Bogard is now gearing up to produce a youth production of the Broadway smash hit, “Annie.”
“I’m here to help the community, and I’ll tell you this, doing the show out in Escondido, people were like buying dinners out there and you see this like revitalization going on, and I’m like, okay, I’m bringing people out to Escondido, and they’re supporting the local economy,” Dodson Bogard said. “We even bought our dress for the production at the shop right next door to the venue.”
Dodson Bogard said she hopes the community can see how valuable and necessary the arts are for youth everywhere. She feels that she has found her calling, and she hopes to help these kids find theirs.
For tickets to future shows and for more information, visit Heyjojoproductions.com.