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Volunteers help keep the show going after Redlands Theatre Festival struck by vandals

Community bands together to restore Redlands outdoor theatre that was trashed by vandals
Community bands together to restore Redlands outdoor theatre that was trashed by vandals 02:30

The show must go on at the Redlands Theatre Festival in Prospect Park, where production workers scrambled to make repairs after their set was destroyed by vandals after their first show following the pandemic.

"It's like someone came into our house and tore it up," said volunteer Tina Skousen. 

The production crew was devastated Saturday to discover its set had been destroyed overnight, immediately after the theatre opened for its 50th anniversary season. Doors on the set were found broken in half, locks were wrenched open, and there was graffiti scrawled all over concrete floors, audience seats, and on a garbage bin receptacle.

"Weeks, months of work and they just went to town on it, like it meant nothing," said company sound designer Robert Conrad. 

The damage was originally estimated at $25,000, but Skousen with the festival says they continue to uncover additional damage as they work to clean up the mess. Several parked cars in the area also had their windows smashed in, and the theater's crew believe it is related to the vandalism.

"I don't think they cared," said director Pam Lambert. "I honestly think it was kids that don't have any respect for anything."

And even though much of the set was thrashed, Skousen says its crew, along with friends and neighbors, have come together to help clean things up enough for a second show on Sunday night. And a flood of donations have helped the mostly volunteer-based organization reach half its fundraising goal.

"The outpouring of support has just been incredible and humbling," said Skousen

The festival has three more shows opening over the next two weeks, but the final show's opening had to be delayed from Saturday night until next Wednesday night.

"Theatre people are tough," said scenic designer Margaret Perry. "It takes a lot to get us to not perform and get a show up."  

A police report was filed with Redlands police, which is looking into whether the vandals were captured on security video.


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