Long running theater finds a way to entertain amid pandemic


OAKHURST, California (KGPE) – In Oakhurst, Golden Chain Theatre is switching to a virtual platform to stay afloat.  The theatre went dark for the first time in 54 years due to the pandemic, but the theatre says, the curtains aren’t closed yet.

“We have the longest running melodrama in California.  So to let the pandemic take that from us was just not in the cards for us,” said Jennifer Olsen, the Board Secretary & Fundraising Coordinator for Golden Chain Theatre.

Before the shutdown, the theater performed several shows a year, bringing an audience of more than 200 people per show.  They’ve never faced anything like this.

“We can set up the auditorium to respect social distancing guidelines, we can offer the hand sanitizer, we can have our patrons masked, but to ask our performers to do that, to try to stay six feet away is next to impossible.”

The theater’s creative minds came together, rehearsing and recording their scenes via Zoom.  Then the acts are strung into a production and put on their Facebook page for their audience to enjoy.

“So, along with all the work we’ve done to get something out to provide entertainment for the community, we’ve also started a campaign to help protect this place financially,” said Michael Van Buren, the Board President  for Golden Chain Theatre.

The Chain Link campaign asks people to “be the link in the chain” by making a monthly donation that’s “the cost of less than one specialty cup of coffee” to help save the golden chain theatre.  the board VP of the theater, Miranda Simonich says it’s one of the jewels of the community and needs to be preserved.

“It would be losing an outlet for these kids and the community to be able to express themselves in a positive way where now it’s needed more than ever.”

While the theatre will be showing their new productions on Friday evenings, they’ll also be showcasing their older productions in between.

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