Antioch's First Professional Theatre Company Closes
Hapgood Theatre Company, founded by actress Josy Miller, closed its doors this October due to mounting financial difficulties. Miller, who served as the company's artistic director, started Hapgood in 2006 as an explicitly professional troupe with paid actors and designers, relying on ticket sales, grants and donations to meet the company's expenses. Her goal was to bring high quality theatre to the community of East Contra Costa County.
The company had clear successes, both artistic and financial, and was able to mount four full-scale main stage productions its very first season through donations and pre-sold tickets. Over the next four years, however, its debts increased, and while Miller maintained that the company was in stable financial health, the Hapgood's advisory board came to a different conclusion, and ruled to dissolve the nonprofit in light of recently uncovered financial issues it claims were never disclosed. The true extent of the company's debt is unknown.
This closure falls in the middle of the 2011-2012 season, halting rehearsals for what would have been the company's next production, Noël Coward's Private Lives. The board circulated a letter to subscribers suggesting they claim the unused portion of their season ticket costs as a tax-deductible donation.