Chance Theater's Record Expansion Means Movin' On Up While Staying Put in Anaheim
In arguably the biggest step forward in OC theater in nearly 50 years, the Chance Theater announced last night that it is tripling its seating capacity by moving into a new space.
Chance Theater More room for reptiles and thespians
It's not a long move. The theater is taking over a unit in the same Anaheim Hills industrial park that it's called home since opening in 1999. But in terms of physical space and, just as important, further solidifying its legitimacy in Southern California theater, it's an enormous move. The Chance will double its square footage, from 3,000-square-feet to 6,000-square-feet and triple its capacity, from its current 49 seats to 150.
The Chance will finish its 2013 season its is current space, and will open its 2014 season in the new space, in early February, Managing Director Casey Long says.
It's the largest expansion of an Orange County storefront theater since 1967, when South Coast Repertory moved from a 75-seat theater on the Balboa Peninsula into a converted Sprouse-Reitz variety store in Costa Mesa, which housed 217 seats. Nine years later, SCR moved into a 507-seat theater at its present location, followed the year later by the addition of a 161-seat Second Stage.
Whether the Chance makes another huge leap in its future is obviously up to the vagaries of finance, the willingness of people to still care enough about live theater to support it, and humanity not destroying itself in any number of ways. But if does happen, it won't be for 10 years, as that's how long its new lease will last.
"We'd been talking and thinking about this for many years," Long says. "And we'd discussed it among ourselves and with our board and when this opportunity presented itself late last year, we just knew it was the right time."