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We Are Making Progress!

We want to bring you up to date on our most recent progress at the Sutter Theater. Much has happened over the last year to construct our “Black Box Theater.” This "flexible, low-tech theater" will be the first of 2 to be completed as part of our renovations. For those not familiar with a “Black Box Theater”:  it “consists of a simple, somewhat unadorned performance space, usually a large square room with black walls and a flat floor. The seating is typically composed of loose chairs, which can be easily moved or removed to allow the entire space to be adapted to the artistic elements of a production.” 

In addition to performances (yay!), this space will be flexible enough to be used by our community for all kinds of activities: fundraisers, dances, classes, meetings etc.

Note that the definition above mentions a flat floor. This has been one of our bigger obstacles to date. The original floor was sloped and up to 14 inches thick! This required cutting and removing half the floor - the higher part of the slope. Soon we will be pouring more concrete to achieve the desired level floor. This has been a monumental task.

We owe huge thanks to so many volunteers!  Here is just some of the work they have done:

Last summer, Mike Birch from Cal-West Concrete Cutting in Yuba City sent in crews to remove the wall separating the two small (former movie) theaters just behind the lobby to start the process towards creating our “Black Box” Theater.  After removing the wall, local supporters from the community, Beale AFB and the Sutter Performing Arts Assn. Board removed the debris.  

Mike again sent in a crew to bore the necessary holes for us to replace our aging electrical panel with a new one and then followed up with 2 more crews working to cut the existing sloped concrete floor in the now combined theaters so we can achieve a level floor. The saws used to cut the concrete have diamond blades and are quite expensive. We are very grateful to Mike for his generosity in doing this work. Thank you to Mike Birch and his crew at Cal-West Concrete Cutting! 

This is just the 1st installment of the last year's progress and some of our many volunteers. We have much more to share. Check back next week!

Of course this story started a few years back as you know. Our progress prior to the Black Box work includes: a complete renovation of the exterior including the Sutter sign and the marquee, a new roof, electrical upgrades, lobby and restroom work, the opening of our Theater Gallery two years ago to exhibit works of local artists, numerous fundraisers, alliances with community organizations, participation in community events and so much more.

A Brief History of the Sutter Performing Arts Association

FEIN: 20-4106861, Ca State Corp. #2712372  501(c) (3) non-profit effective date 12/28/04

The Sutter Performing Arts Association (SPAA) is a public effort that began with two local businesspersons stepping up to save a central downtown Yuba City historical building “The Sutter Theater”. Entrepreneurs Russ Clark and John Tuscano had a vision -- to turn the structure into a community asset: A performing arts and community center.

The two men invited the community to participate in an open meeting in order to share their vision and were surprised to find more than 100 citizens showed up and embraced the idea.

An active list of volunteers came out of that meeting. A corporation and planning for the renovation of the building began.

The plan will provide a state of the art building that provides a setting for a rich array of culturally diverse performing arts programming for the region. This is an investment in eclectic Plumas Street, as it will bring event participators to the downtown area for shopping and eating.

And better yet, the performing arts community center has developed alliances with all local performing arts schools and theater companies in the area. They will be able to use the theater for teaching and performances that do not fit their venues.

A grant from the City of Yuba City provided funding for our initial studies which included: feasibility, engineering, theatrical, ADA, seismographic and more and show that our goal is viable. Fundraising efforts have sustained the Corporation for the past five years while our infrastructure has been established, our “road map” toward our goal was drawn and community alliances have been cultivated to make this project a reality.

The initial phase of getting the organizational structure functioning, acquiring our 501c3 non-profit status, and providing fund raising to cover loan costs has been successful.

SPAA is ready to begin the second phase of the strategic plan, which will allow for the exterior renovations and essential interior repairs to open a small retail/office space. These renovations will allow SPAA to advertise and promote events utilizing the marquee, establish a vehicle for community awareness and detail progress.


Want to help?

Please visit our donation page! Every little bit helps, and we accept donations in any amount.



Presenting the third installment in our series of best-loved musicals and sing-a-longs, concert style. Razzle Dazzle features show-stopping numbers from Caberet, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago, The Drowsy Chaperone and more. Complete info on our EVENTS PAGE.


In the Theater Gallery -

The Theater Gallery will be closed during the month of July. It will reopen on Wednesday, August 5th. 

Volunteers are needed to staff the Gallery. If you can help a few hours a month email us at  



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