Home stage affected by construction delays
By April Seager
Since producing “As You Like It” in 2019, the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co. has been forced to cancel three consecutive seasons. Hampered first by the pandemic, the theater company has more recently been navigating around the construction delays in Carter Park, which has served as the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co.’s home venue since 2013.
“We feel a close relationship with the city of Half Moon Bay because they allowed us to adopt Carter Park,” said Lee Ellis, co-founder and board member of Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co. “The purpose was for us to lead the way for other performing arts to use Carter Park as a performance venue.”
Heather McAvoy, president of the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co., said board members of the organization are planning to attend the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, provided they can secure a spot on the agenda.
“The goal would just be to help the City Council be aware of our situation and our interest in doing whatever we can to facilitate getting Carter Park back online or finding an alternative venue for us,” said McAvoy.
In the meantime, a search for a temporary venue on the Coastside is already underway.
“We’re not really sure what the delays are in Carter Park or what the plan is right now, so that’s why we’re looking for alternate venues,” said Debbie Lynn Carriger, artistic director for the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co. “We don’t want to go another year without producing a show.”
The company’s requirements for a venue include a basic electrical supply, an ample backstage area and a secure storage space for props, costumes and set pieces between performances. Audience capacity should be between 50 and 100 people. Location is key.
“It can’t be down a one-way road that is going to be hard to find,” she said. “Ideally, it would be close to a main road, but not on the main road, so that we’re not getting that kind of noise.”
So far, Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co.’s search for a temporary venue has been difficult. “We are struggling to find an outdoor performance space or even an indoor one,” said Carriger.
Carriger invited members of the community to contact her with ideas. “They can reach out to us,” she said. “What if someone has a barn that we can use? We don’t know what’s out there.”
Ultimately, Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co. hopes to return to Carter Park.
“We’ve had a great partnership with the city,” said McAvoy. “Half Moon Bay Shakespeare has adopted Carter Park in the past and worked to help maintain it. We want to work with the city to activate the park and make sure that it could be a successful venue, not only for Half Moon Bay Shakespeare, but the whole community.”