The Redlands Theatre Festival was forced to cancel its performance at Prospect Park Saturday evening after set pieces and other equipment were vandalized overnight.
The festival’s executive director, Shannon Galuzska, said she left the park around midnight on Friday after wrapping up the opening night performance of its 50th season. The show had been on a two-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival has operated as a repertory company in the Inland Empire since its founding in 1972 by Galuzska’s father, Cliff Cabanilla. Each week features five shows performed in rotation Wednesday through Sunday evenings, continuing until August 6.
On Saturday, Galuzska woke up to a call notifying her that the set had been vandalized, with doors kicked in, wires and ropes cut and trash and graffiti strewn about.
“We’ve worked so hard the last two months to get ready for our big return, and our opening night went beautifully,” Galuzska said.
“And now vandals have destroyed our beautiful set.”
Galuzska said she and her company have had problems at the park for years, with people roaming the park “screaming their heads off” and throwing bottles and other objects at the crew, she said.
“I used to stay overnight to keep an eye on everything but we were told by the city we aren’t allowed to do that,” she said. “We don’t have the budget for overnight security, and there’s only so much we can do to secure all our equipment.”
Though Saturday night’s show was canceled, Galuzska said she and her crew would be working to ensure that a Sunday performance can take place.
“It’s about the time and effort and the disappointment,” Galuzska said. “My dad founded this company, and we’ve been shut down for two years. We just wanted to continue our tradition and make our return special.”
Police On Saturday afternoon said they had no suspects.