One of the first things that Mayor Steven Choi and Councilmember Jeffrey Lalloway did when they captured the majority on the Irvine City Council was attempt to slash the City’s funding for the Irvine Barclay Theatre.
Choi and Lalloway asserted that the City’s contribution to the Irvine Barclay Theatre is “wasteful spending” and proposed to cut it by more than half, from $925,000 to $425,000.
Doug Rankin, president of the Irvine Barclay, warned that if the City’s contribution to the Barclay was cut as Choi and Lalloway wanted, the impact on the Barclay would be “Somewhere between completely adverse and catastrophic.”
World Famous Diavolo Dance Theatre performing at the Irvine Barclay Theatre
Founded in 1990, the Irvine Barclay Theatre is a unique collaboration among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector. The Barclay has earned “a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts . . . The Barclay’s 750-seat Cheng Hall is now virtually in constant use. The Irvine Barclay Theatre has gained a national reputation for its great acoustics, intimate feel, and the high quality of its production facilities. Among artists, it is a venue of choice when performing in southern California.”
Choi’s and Lalloway’s attempt to impose “catastrophic” cuts in the Barclay’s funding failed when dozens of citizens – from across the political spectrum – including former Irvine Mayor Sally Anne Sheridan, UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts Dean Joseph Lewis, Bluestone Communities President Michael Kerr, Arts Orange County Executive Director Richard Stein, and Philharmonic Society of Orange County President Dean Corey – showed up at the City Council chambers to protest.
Republican Councilmember Christina Shea then voted with Democratic Councilmembers Beth Krom and Larry Agran to restore the Barclay’s funding – to much audience applause.
Angry over losing the vote and undeterred by the overwhelming popular sentiment in favor of restoring the Barclay’s funding, Lalloway responded by publicly insulting Councilmember Christina Shea, saying she had deceived the voters when she claimed to be ‘fiscally responsible.”
China National Opera and Dance Company performing this month at the Irvine Barclay Theatre
Now, the Barclay is again in danger.
If Choi and Lalloway are re-elected this November, they will again try to inflict catastrophic cuts in the City’s funding for the Barclay Theatre.
The result would be, in Doug Rankin’s words, “catastrophic” for the Barclay, as well as many other City of Irvine programs.
In contrast, if I am elected to the Irvine City Council, I will ensure that the City continues to support the Irvine Barclay Theatre – where I have seen numerous wonderful performances from both UC Irvine students and touring professionals from around the globe, most recently last week’s performance of the China National Opera and Dance Drama Company – so that it continues to be Irvine’s most treasured cultural center for at least another 25 years.
The fate of the Irvine Barclay Theatre depends on who the voters elect this coming November.
Whether the Barclay survives for another 25 wonderful years – and more – is up to you.