A couple of months ago, Cabrillo Music Theatre announced that it needed to change it’s financial model to survive. To move forward, Cabrillo’s board of directors decided that it needed to raise at least $200,000 of it’s $250,000 goal by the end of July — a week from now.

As of today, Cabrillo is $51,000 short of that goal.
If it doesn’t get donations of that amount, the community should expect Cabrillo Music Theatre to close its doors.

If Cabrillo doesn’t reach 80% of its fundraising goal, it will return all the donations.

Cabrillo Music Theatre is a tax deductible, non-profit. Those wanting to make donations, can do so at — or mail donations to the Cabrillo Music Theatre office, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite B, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Ticket sales, also core to Cabrillo staying open, is also available, along with the new season’s schedule at Cabrillo’s web site. It’s current production, Bye Bye Birdie, ends this weekend.


In the last three years, Cabrillo went from approximately $270,000 in debt to now not having much debt (just some nominal operational debt). While quite the accomplishment, Cabrillo is now facing additional challenges including:

– the shifting of Alliance for the Arts resources from Cabrillo to the City of Thousand Oaks to support the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

– increase in costs to put on productions at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

– the need to invest in marketing, sales, and fundraising operations

Cabrillo’s Board of Directors has decided to follow the example of other theatre companies that are not just surviving, but prospering. This model is a combined approach that requires annual fundraising, subscription ticket sales, and single show ticket sales. (“Old” Cabrillo relied solely on ticket sales, which is no longer sufficient.)

About Cabrillo Music Theatre

Cabrillo is the resident Musical Production Company at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, the largest theatre between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Cabrillo started shows in the 1980’s. And, as a volunteer based non-profit theatre company, it presents “award-winning musicals with full, live orchestras, lavish sets and costumes, and premier talent.”

Cabrillo says that it reaches more than 100,000 people through their main stage, off-stage, special programs, and outreach programs. Since 2005, Cabrillo’s “outreach programs have included over 31,000 underserved, Title I children, in-need seniors, and active military troops, all free of charge.”

Financial Background

Here are answers to some common questions about Cabrillo’s finances.

The average show costs between $200,000 to $325,000 to produce. Cabrillo typically produces 4-5 main stage shows per year in addition to it’s off-stage, special event, and outreach programs.

Shows typically produce between $180,000 to $240,000 in ticket sales depending on the success of the show. This is gross revenue, with costs to the Civic Arts Plaza, box office, and production costs coming out of it. Cabrillo expects ticket sales to be 70% of the total annual operating budget this season, with the balance made up from the current fundraising efforts.

About 15% of the annual budget is related to staff, office, and overhead to run the operation. This is significantly lower than other theatre companies which have much larger staffs who are often paid more, and as a result, run closer to 30% of the annual budget.

The $250,000 that Cabrillo is short will be addressed in a number of ways including cost cutting, not taking on new staff to replace duties, but most importantly fundraising.