OCEANSIDE – After signing its new 20-year lease agreement with the city last fall, Oceanside Theatre Company hired its first managing director to help usher the theater group into the future by enhancing its residency at the historic Sunshine Brooks Theater.
Alex Goodman, a long-time patron of the Brooks Theater and former managing director for New Village Arts in Carlsbad, has taken over as managing director for Oceanside Theatre Company, the city’s resident professional performing arts company stewarding the Brooks Theater since 2011.
In his new role, Goodman will oversee the day-to-day business operations of the theater, fiscal management and marketing, and will be responsible for developing a comprehensive fundraising strategy to support the company’s needs and the theater’s upcoming renovations. He is currently working on his 90-day strategic plan.
“This first month is really meant for listening to and meeting with stakeholders, board and staff members, and all the movers and shakers in Oceanside to get a sense of their relationship with Oceanside Theatre Company, Goodman said.
In the next few weeks, Goodman plans to meet with Library Division Manager and Arts Commission liaison CJ DiMento, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce Chair Scott Ashton and others.
“We’re looking for strengths and opportunities within the planning phase of the next 30 days to figure out what we’ll do,” Goodman said. “Moving forward and beyond that, we’ll begin executing that plan.”
As part of the 20-year lease agreement, the theater company must renovate the historic theater along with the attached Studio 219 building next door.
The first phase of the required capital improvements to the theater will be made to its lobby and Studio 219. At least $500,000 must be used to enhance these two spaces with six additional free-standing bathrooms in the lobby, renovations to Studio 219’s bathroom, new entry doors and glazing at both the lobby and Studio 219 spaces, a new HVAC system, moving the entrance space to the seating area, new concessions and plumbing in the lobby.
The second phase requires at least $300,000 to renovate the actual theater space of the building. These changes will include replacing the theater and dressing rooms’ HVAC system, replacing floor and carpeting, upgrading theater sound and lighting equipment, and replacing the seating to accommodate up to 200 people.
With only 16 weeks of productions throughout the year, Goodman and board members also want to see more music, comedy and other events filling the theater with activity. The renovations will help to make this possible.
According to Leann Garms, an Oceanside Theatre Company board member, the company has already engaged an architectural firm for those plans.
“We’re starting to explore what’s possible to really make it a community venue and just it is sad to walk by and see it’s dark inside,” Garms said. “It’s such a great, historic building, and we’re going to bring in those renovations to activate the building as much as possible.”
Garms said hiring Goodman has lifted a “huge weight” off of the board’s shoulders. Before him, the all-volunteer board was responsible for everything. Now, they can focus on other work besides the day-to-day business details.
Oceanside Theatre Company is one of several cultural arts organizations that were recognized by Mayor Esther Sanchez at the April 20 council meeting as part of her proclamation naming April as “Arts, Culture and Creativity Month” in Oceanside.