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Questions remain after abrupt closure of small Citrus Heights theatre

Theatre in the Heights was located at 8215 Auburn Blvd., in Citrus Heights. // S. Williams

By Sara Beth Williams–
The sun has set on a once-popular community theatre in Citrus Heights, with an abrupt closure announcement in August leaving loyal patrons both saddened and surprised.

According to its website and most recent newsletter, Theatre in the Heights, located at 8215 Auburn Blvd., has closed permanently.

The theatre announced an immediate closure in a Sept. 9 newsletter, stating that, “after much deliberation, we made the difficult decision to shut down all theater operations, effective immediately.” The company owners thanked patrons and artistic collaborators for their “tremendous” support throughout the last seven years, and mentioned the theater would be liquidating all assets and paying back season ticket holders.

In a previous newsletter dated Aug. 21, theatre company owners initially announced that they were retiring and that the 2023-24 theater season would be taken over by a new production company called Vivid Flare Productions, led by Shane Robert. However, in a follow-up newsletter dated Sept. 1, the theatre announced that the production company “was not ready for prime time,” but that the theatre had decided to remain operational through the rest of the production season.

That decision was apparently short-lived, however, as a subsequent announcement a week later confirmed the permanent closure of the theatre.

Phone calls and emails to Theatre in the Heights by the Sentinel during the month of September requesting comment went unanswered. During an in-person visit to the theatre’s location on Auburn Boulevard on Oct. 1, Sentinel staff made contact with a representative of the landlord. The representative declined to provide a name and declined to comment on all questions regarding the status of the property or the reason behind the theater company’s abrupt closure, only stating that the situation between the landlord and the theater company’s owners had been “squishy.”

The manager at a nearby Mexican restaurant, Mi Lindo Jalisco, said patrons had not been observed coming or going from the theatre in at least a month.

Theatre in the Heights first opened in 2017, tucked away in a shopping plaza home to Aquarium Depot and several smaller shops and restaurants. The small theatre boasted a 52-seat auditorium and earned a loyal following, with some shows selling out.

Comments on the theatre’s Facebook page last month expressed sadness at the closure, with one patron saying the theatre would be missed.

In the past, Theatre in the Heights has produced many locally written productions, as well as classic Shakespearean productions, and other popular contemporary productions such as The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The theatre also hosted annual Bogart Film Festivals for the community as a tribute to Humphry Bogart.

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