CCCT is celebrating its 50th season. ~
Our one and only birthday wish?
That you share it with us.
In our forty-nine years, CCCT has presented more than 200 productions, as well as numerous other play readings, events, and children’s shows. We have staged intimate dramas and splashy musicals, from solo performances to casts that fill the stage.
We have always believed that good theatre must contain all that life contains — the seemingly insignificant and the extravagantly momentous.
CCCT truly is a community theatre. We can proudly say that every facet of our organization involves members of our community — from the friendly faces in the office, to the lighting and set designers. As a volunteer-based nonprofit community theatre, nothing is more important than the people who spend time with us at the theatre.
The Board of Directors, the Artistic Advisory Committee, and everyone at CCCT, look forward to seeing you at the Theatre for our fiftieth season.
Photos are now available of this memorable day at
By Marsha Calhoun
Cozy groupings of chairs and couches, reminiscent of Louie's beloved drawing room comedies, decorated Pomona Avenue in front of the theatre where cast partiers sang "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" along with strolling Western troubadors Steve Kirby and the Scouts of the Cascades at the CCCT reunion cast party July 31, celebrating 50 years of live theatre in El Cerrito.
Inside the Flynn Building, munching pink ice cream that tasted like birthday cake handed to them after check-in by Perry Nalle and Mira Korry, 12-year-old actress/volunteer veterans of Drama Camp, CCCT folks of all ages roamed the stage, offices, Terrace Room, kitchen, costume rooms, and dressing rooms. "All these years, and I've never been in here," murmured one woman as she peeked into the office from the hallway sporting the Cathy Schutz picture wall, featuring that "utility infielder's" photos of virtually every production she took since joining CCCT after writing a feature on it for the Richmond Independent. Other partiers marveled at the sleek and splendid new kitchen (complete with a wine closet set at 42 degrees) and reminisced about scraping and scouring the now-vanished cupboards and flooring of the former Boys Club when El Cerrito leased the building to CCCT in 1970. Everyone had been so relieved not to have to set up and break down twice a week at Harding School any more.
In the auditorium, Broadway Open Microphone and Counselor Improv elicited admiration and guffaws as the local talent showed their stuff - the level of skill and professionalism, as always, a pleasant surprise. Some people appeared to come in originally to see a particular friend or offspring, but they stayed for the entertainment; others wandered in and stayed to laugh.
Backstage, scrapbooks full of reviews assembled by Gretchen Schaeffer, daughter of CCCT pillar Sheila Schaeffer, lay on the tables illuminated by powerful makeup lights in the dressing room. "I grew up here," Daniel Paley explained simply when asked of his experience with CCCT. Like so many others, he spent his high school years "doing everything - you name it, we did it" at the theatre, from making sets to performing to handing out programs. He claims that because of his influence, CCCT can boast another life dedicated to theatre. Also a volunteer at the swim center across the street from the theatre with his friend Jerry Gomez, he invited Jerry one day to stop by and take a look at a rehearsal. Jerry caught the bug, and went on to become organizer of the Shakespeare Festival in Door County, Wisconsin. Another artist awakened at CCCT was Mark Streshinsky, now artistic director of the Berkeley Opera, who served as a house manager, backstage crew for many shows, and chorus boy in Oklahoma!, and whose son is now in the Musical Juniors program.
The influence of Mary Noble, Backstage Wife (aka Bettianne Flynn), whose wry observations graced the programs of so many CCCT productions, infused the day, the building, and all the participants - even those who hadn't known her. Her spirit of generous affection, relentless dedication, and love of good theatre was evident in every facet of the event.
The Terrace Room had more photos - groundbreaking (even some of the people in it had trouble remembering who all was there) and a copy of the brilliant mural on the Moeser Lane side of the building featuring scenes from some of the liveliest CCCT shows. A crowd of varying size sat in front of a video loop, shouting out the names of the productions and players as pictures flashed by. After a while watching it, time seemed to shift as stars and supporting cast switched places, grew up, and grew older, wearing different costumes from every era imaginable.
Although the day was brightly sunny (something of a gift from an East Bay summer), CCCT tee shirts and hoodies were for sale in the lobby along with mugs and memorabilia at a table manned by Elaine Korry (mother of Mira the ice-cream dispenser). Wine, beer, and popcorn (or cookies and chips from the stand in the street) fueled the hungry and thirsty as they compared notes on plays seen/performed, what they had been doing since their time as volunteers, and what was new on Broadway. Partiers partied on several levels - the founding elders, beaming stylishly as they passed from room to room, sometime with the help of walkers (causing a couple of traffic jams in the narrow picture wall hallway); the current crop of adult volunteers, who were often accomplishing some small task while chatting with other celebrants; those who had traveled from afar, in time or distance, and at first timidly sought others from their era before memories came rushing back; and the ever-present stratum of children and young teens who slipped like eels through the crowd, bent purposefully on their private missions yet somehow still part of the whole.
On the stage, before and after the open microphone and improv, the director's chair labeled "Louis Flynn" sat in the spotlight, where it belonged.
Here’s a great five-minute video we created just for our 50th Anniversary.