By the Sea Productions
By the Sea Productions – Our Story
BTSP is Morro Bay’s only live theater company. Our mission statement is “Creating community through our passion for theatre and story-telling.” In action, our mission is to provide quality live theater to the residents of Morro Bay and those that visit from other areas. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a Morro Bay business license and are members of the Chamber of Commerce.
We formerly operated for 14 years as the Pewter Plough Players in Cambria. When the Playhouse changed hands in 2016, we lost our lease and decided to make the move to Morro Bay in January 2017.
We searched everywhere for an appropriate venue…schools, former schools, empty business buildings, etc. but we ran into unaffordable rents and zoning and parking issues. Then we contacted all the local churches and finally found our home at St. Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal church on Shasta Ave. Rev. Sid Simington and his congregation welcomed us to their Erickson Hall, where we now have a permanent stage for our shows. Because we are in a residential area, our permit restricts our hours and number of annual performances so as not to impose on our neighbors and we are all on good terms.
Our seasons consist of five full length plays that run for 4 weekends each and three Readers Theatre shows that run for one weekend each. We choose our season with a combination of comedies, dramas and classics. No musicals, unfortunately, as stage space is limited.
We have deliberately kept our ticket prices affordable at $20 for adults and $15 for students for full shows, and $10 for Readers shows. Local support has been enthusiastic and our audiences are growing with each show, often to full houses (65 people.) Our audience surveys indicate that we are drawing people from throughout the county, as well as many of our tourist visitors.
We make it a point to use local businesses…ASAP, Miner’s, Morro Secure Storage, the Dollar Store, Estero Bay News, Morro Bay Life, Coast Electronics, so our operational expenses are contributing to the local economy. We also donate tickets to numerous fundraisers during the year and join with the church in awarding an annual scholarship at MBHS, and several students have appeared in our shows.
Operating a live theater is costly. We pay rent and a percentage of ticket sales for the venue, in addition to royalty payments, set construction materials, advertising, props, costumes, lighting and sound equipment, storage for sets and costumes, etc. We greatly appreciate the donations and support we receive from individuals and local businesses.
We welcome volunteers to help with set construction, distributing fliers, operating sound and lighting during shows, and of course, to come to our auditions. Our Readers shows don’t require memorization and have minimal rehearsal schedules…a good way to get started performing.
Our Board of Directors consists of eight members, all volunteers. We have no paid staff.
Our current board members are:
President: Rhonda Crowfoot (Morro Bay); Vice President: Sarah Smith (Grover Beach), Secretary: Janice Peters (Morro Bay); Treasurer: Kelli M. Poward (Atascadero); Directors: Anita Schwaber (Cayucos); Tim Linzey (Cambria); Sheridan Cole (Los Osos) and Sam Gottlieb (Atascadero).