Theater Notebook: Trinity Theatre finds a new home in Mission Valley shopping mall

Trinity Theatre's Sean and Connor Boyd talk in their new theater space.
Trinity Theatre co-founder and artistic director Sean Boyd, right, and associate artistic director Connor Boyd inside their new theater headquarters in the Westfield Mission Valley mall.
(Courtesy of Susan Clausen)

Also this week, the return of the Old Globe’s ‘Thinking Shakespeare Live’ show, JFest theater season kicks off and OnStage Playhouse plans benefit production


Many of San Diego’s smaller theater companies don’t have their own theater, so the founders work from home and rent auditoriums and amphitheaters only when they’re putting on a play.

But 11-year-old Trinity Theater Company has found and creative and affordable new permanent home with a central location, free parking, good lighting at night and nearby restaurants for a pre-show meal. On May 22, Trinity moved into the former Payless shoe store at Westfield Mission Valley shopping mall.

When interior work is complete on the space at 1640 Camino Del Rio North, Suite 129, the 2,900-square-foot space near the Target store will include a 60- to 72-seat theater, offices, a rehearsal area and a lobby.

Trinity co-founder and artistic director Sean Boyd said the new space will open to the public on June 20, which is kickoff day for the company’s Level Up summer theater camp programs for youth. The first full production that will be produced in the new space is a teen-cast production of “Mean Girls, the Musical,” running July 28-30.

Boyd said company officers — who include his wife, arts education director Megan Goyette, and his brother, associate artistic director Connor Boyd — have been working from home since the pandemic hit in 2020, but they really wanted a space where they could create together.

They also wanted a space where they could bring out the community for theater shows, open mike nights and more. In the past, Trinity produced shows at Community Actor’s Theatre in Oak Park, did most of its educational outreach programs on San Diego County school campuses, where it will continue to work.

“We hope having a centralized location will allow us to provide the community with a place to come and huddle,” he said. “They don’t often get to meet outside their community.”

Boyd said he and his wife got the idea for the new space while walking through the mall a few months ago and seeing a number of empty storefronts. In the past year, Westfield has leased former retail shops for other uses, like a hip-hop music studio, and Boyd said mall officials were very easy to work with and enthusiastic about the idea of a theater on the property.

Boyd said he hopes their mall move may inspire other small theaters to consider leasing within the mall to create a “theater row.”

“I’ve made a point to introduce myself to all the neighbors and all of them are so eager to collaborate,” he said, adding that Trinity’s closest new neighbor is a gelato shop that will likely become a popular stop for Trinity performers and audience members.

To learn more about Trinity visit

Thinking Shakespeare Live! returns

Tickets go on sale Friday for “Thinking Shakespeare Live!,” which returns to the Old Globe stage on Aug. 5.

The educational program was created by and hosted by Barry Edelstein, the Globe’s artistic director. The live show is based on Edelstein’s book “Thinking Shakespeare: A How-To Guide for Student Actors, Directors and Anyone Else Who Wants to Feel More Comfortable with the Bard.”

In the 90-minute program at 11 a.m. Aug. 5, Edelstein will be joined by three actors who will demonstrate live onstage the methods he imparts to professional actors in the rehearsal room on the tools used to hear and understand Shakespeare. Tickets start at $19. Call (619) 234-5632 or visit

Dybbuk Theatre of Los Angeles.
Dybbuk Theatre of Los Angeles, seen here in 2022, will perform “The Merchant of Venice (Annotated), or In Sooth I Know Not Why I Am So Sad” at the 2023 Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival.
(Courtesy of Taso Papadakis)

Jfest gets under way

The 2023 Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival is now under way, with the first of seven theatrical events taking place Sunday.

Here’s the lineup of theater events taking place through July at different locations. Tickets are priced from $18 to $50 and can be purchased online at

“Witnesses” Concert — One-time reunion concert-style performance of CCAE Theatricals’ award-winning world premiere 2022 musical inspired by the diaries of five European Jewish teens who perished in the Holocaust. 2 p.m. June 4. Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, La Jolla.

The Whole Megillah New Jewish Play Festival. — “Unapologetically Jewish” new plays will be presented at local theaters. 7:30 p.m. June 7 and 7 p.m. June 11 at the Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park; 7:30 p.m. July 6 and 2 p.m. July 9 at New Village Arts, 2787 State St., Carlsbad.

14th annual Woman of Valor — Celebration of six San Diego Jewish women: Annie Benaroch, Amelia Glaser, Jan Landau, Fanny Krasner Lebovitz and Sheila Lipinsky and Beth Sirull. 1 p.m. June 11. Leichtag Commons, 441 Saxony Rd, Encinitas.

“Hereville” — Family-friendly musical by Robby Sandler and Lizzie Hagstead about a time-traveling, monster-fighting orthodox Jewish girl. 7 p.m. June 11 at the Old Globe, Balboa Park; 2 p.m. July 9 at New Village Arts, Carlsbad.

Theatre Dybbuk presents “The Merchant of Venice (Annotated), or In Sooth I Know Not Why I Am So Sad” — This Los Angeles-based Jewish theater company presents its latest play, exploring the history and theatricality of one of William Shakespeare’s most controversial plays. 2 p.m. June 18. Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, La Jolla.

“Chagall” — Co-created by writer/composer Yale Strom and writer/director Todd Salovey, this concert reading traces how Bella and Marc Chagall became refugees in their lives and art. 7:30 p.m. July 6. New Village Arts, Carlsbad.

Eco-Jewish Play Fest — Coastal Roots Farm will collaborate with Rebecca Fletcher on this new event, where seven writers, directors and stage managers and 21 actors will be given 24 hours to create seven short plays inspired by the farm’s core Jewish values of sustainable agriculture and food justice. 6 p.m. July 16. Leichtag Commons, Encinitas.

OnStage Playhouse artistic director James P. Darvas
OnStage Playhouse artistic director James P. Darvas accepts an award for outstanding achievement by a small theater at the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle’s 2022 Craig Noel Awards on Feb. 27, 2023, in San Diego.
(Courtesy of Ion Moe)

OnStage plans benefit production

Weeks after announcing it will pause its 2023 season to raise $150,000 in much-needed funds to carry on, OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista has announced a summer fundraising production.

OnStage artistic director James P. Darvas said the company will present Steven Dietz’s 1994 play “Lonely Planet,” which will run from June 23 to July 16. The play is the story of two gay male friends finding ways to cope with their loss of many friends during the AIDS epidemic.

The production will be directed by former OnStage artistic chief Teri Brown and the show will feature Darvas, board member Solomon Maya.

Tickets will be sold on a donation basis with a miminum $10 per ticket requested. All proceeds will go toward the company’s reopening campaign. Visit