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Santa Maria Civic Theatre celebrates 65th season anniversary

Posted at 6:08 PM, Aug 09, 2023

The Santa Maria Civic Theatre is celebrating its 65th season bringing local entertainment and arts to the community.

The theater was started by Tom and Meg Smith, after well-known actor Carey Grant told Meg to leave her job at RKO in Hollywood and move to a small town to start a community theater.

The Smiths founded the Civic Theatre in 1959, but it is now run as a nonprofit.

The founders’ son, Bryn Smith, said he is incredibly proud of his parents' work.

“My dad being the creator of everything that was built here, but my mom being the driving force in that she was about bringing people out of themselves,” Smith said.

The theater is located at 1660 N McClelland St., originally an old phone company. It still preserves some of the original fixtures built by Tom.

The theater welcomes anyone who loves the arts, regardless of age or background.

“It's all about passion and the want to do this, so the people that you see up on stage, that's your English teacher and your plumber,” said Board President Cody Fough.

Some actors, like AJ Fough, became involved with the theater as early as 7 years old. AJ filled in for her brother on a whim one day and has been there since. She said the theater has given her the confidence to pursue acting as a future career.

The theater fought through some challenges and struggled to pay the bills during the pandemic, according to Board Treasurer Kyle Hawkins, though having pushed forward to be able to see them reach their 65th season, they are excited for what is to come.

“It brings culture. It brings something that you can't stream or pause," said Fough. "It's an experience."

The season begins Friday with Cabaret. Tickets can be found at

They are also preparing for Evil Dead the Musical, Radium Girls, Charlotte’s Web and The Prom this season.