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THE CURTAIN RISES

VIEWS OF IRVINE BARCLAY THEATRE'S OPENING FROM THOSE WHO WERE THERE

A stage curtain rising is a powerful symbol for eager audiences, signaling that the arts adventure they have been anticipating—be it musical, theatrical, choreographic, magical, acrobatic, dramatic, comedic—is about to begin. And so it was for the residents of Irvine in September 1990 with the dedication of the newly completed Irvine Barclay Theatre.

A week-long series of celebrations titled The Curtain Rises featured several festive events. The formal dedication ceremony took place on Sunday, September 30, 1990 and included a backstage theatre open house. Individual lunches and receptions for major donors, seat patrons and the many community volunteers followed throughout the week. 

This week of celebrations, though, would not have been possible without the dedication of five passionate lovers of the arts who brought together a remarkable coalition of civic, university and private partners. It is not too strong a statement to say that Sally Anne Sheridan, Dick Sim, Jack Peltason, Donna Brownell and Tom Nielsen made Irvine Barclay Theatre possible.

Chapter I: Sally Anne Sheridan
"The most exciting thing for me about the Barclay now is to go sit in the back of  the theatre and see all the people enjoying themselves. It’s also so good to see the range of people using the venue." - Sally Anne Sheridan 

Chapter II: Dick Sim
"We have, together, created a structure which goes beyond concrete and glass. We have created an arena for creative expression and learning to enrich our lives and those of our children." - Dick Sim

Chapter III: Tom Nielsen
“[The Barclay] is a great success. ...It’s truly come of age and I’m so happy to see it still thriving.” - Tom Nielsen

Chapter IV: Jack Peltason
“More than a beautiful, state-of-the-art performing facility, Irvine Barclay Theatre represents what can be accomplished when several interests work together to create a common goal." - Jack Peltason

Chapter V: Donna Brownell
“As we were working to build the theatre, people would sometimes say, ‘Why do you need this when we have OCPAC?’ And my answer was always, ‘Community access – this is OUR community’s theatre.'” - Donna Brownell

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