The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Staff Spotlight
Georgia Scherrer
Georgia Scherrer
Web Editor-In-Chief

Georgia Scherrer is a music and travel enthusiast looking forward to a new year of journalism with The Sage, now proudly as the Editor-In-Chief.

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Carlsbad Residents Unite to Protect Iconic Theater Venue

Photo Courtesy Ken Kebow
In 1955, the Carlsbad Theater showed popular movies. The organization Save the Carlsbad Theater hopes to continue this long-lasting tradition in the modern-day village. (Photo courtesy of Ken Kebow)

Located in the heart of Carlsbad Village, the historic Carlsbad Theater has remained relatively unchanged since its establishment in 1927. Throughout its almost 100 years, it has hosted shows, screened movies and been a hub for the theater community in North County. 

However, it now lies under the ownership of the local Encinitas development group RPG, which recently placed the building on a lease. In their promotional materials, RPG states that they hope to transform it into restaurant, retail and office space, ending its long run as a theater. 

This announcement sparked protest in the community and led to the formation of a group known as Save the Carlsbad Theater (SCT), who aim to reclaim the space and ensure that it remains used for its original purpose as a theater. 

SCT leader, filmmaker and longtime patron of the theater Ken Kebow believes that saving the theater will keep a unique piece of the community alive. 

“Our downtown already has first-class restaurants and retail establishments,” Kebow said. “We think it makes much more sense to keep an active, operating theater in Carlsbad to bring people downtown to enjoy all the amenities downtown Carlsbad currently offers.”

Since the formation of the SCT organization, it has garnered support from a variety of local businesses and community members. Multiple signs supporting their cause can be seen dotted in many windows in Carlsbad Village. 

The inside of the theater is filled with over 300 seats. If the theater is saved, SCT hopes to use the space for community events in Carlsbad. (Photo Courtesy of Ken Kebow)

“So many people have expressed interest in helping us save the theater and supporting our grassroots campaign,” said Kebow.

Sage Creek Junior and longtime drama student Aishlin Plummer also empathizes with the campaign. “The theater holds great memories and all those memories vanish if it goes away,” she said. “It is very important to preserve this theater to cherish those memories and make more.”

Beyond the building, the theater also brings together a community of like-minded individuals. 

“Finding a community that accepts me no matter what was what initially drew me to theater,” Plummer said. “Theater is filled with the most helpful, kind, and confident people you will ever meet.”

Kebow echoes these sentiments. “Keeping the theater is an incredible way to build a stronger and closer community in Carlsbad,” he said.

The push to save the theater comes as many older buildings, shops and restaurants in the Village have undergone new development and rapid modernization by large companies, frustrating several long-time city residents as they believe the city is gradually losing its unique culture. 

With its 338 seats, Kebow believes that keeping the theater can allow companies to profit while providing an important community space. He hopes the new owners of the theater will recognize this potential.

“It would be a wonderful gesture to a community that has helped their financial success tremendously,” he said.

If successful, the group has an expansive vision for the future of the theater. They want to “screen classic movies, present live music, and host a lecture series with well-known speakers,” according to Kebow.

They also hope for it to be an affordable option for many local performance groups in Carlsbad, drawing back in local talent who were previously inclined to perform in the nearby cities of Vista and Oceanside.

Alongside these plans, SCT hopes to create a new piece of culture in Carlsbad. “We also want to host a Carlsbad Film Festival downtown and use the Carlsbad Theater as the screening venue,” said Kebow.

The group has worked diligently over the past months to continue their fight for the building. They

Hundreds of patrons fill the seats of the Carlsbad Theater for a fundraiser. SCT screened the movie “Back to the Future” with celebrity guests as an example of what events they would like to host at the theater regularly. (Photo Courtesy of Ken Kebow)

have spoken at city council meetings, hosted meet-ups and raised money through fundraisers

The community’s strong efforts and widespread support show that residents want the venue to stay. Their dedication highlights how much this theater means to Carlsbad.

“Our hope is the owners of the building realize how important the Carlsbad Theater is to the community and really begin to work with us to ‘keep the Theater a theater!’” Kebow said.

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  • M

    Ms. ShaliFeb 23, 2024 at 10:04 am

    What a wonderful article! Well-written and informational. It warms up my heart to see our new generation care about the roots and history of our town and are actively taking steps to preserve it.

    • J

      Jacob DoughertyFeb 24, 2024 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you so much for these kind words! They mean a lot to me 🙂