Theatre SKAM loses $5,000 in gear in break-in

More than $5,000 in equipment was stolen this week from Theatre SKAM’s satellite studio at 849 Fort S.

The theft occurred between Tuesday and Thursday, when the building was unoccupied.

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The space is rented by a number of community groups as well as Theatre SKAM, whose main office is located in the North Park neighbourhood. Some classes at the Fort Street location, between Quadra and Blanshard, have been cancelled due to the missing items, which included a lighting board and projector.

“They were able to get in the front door somehow,” said Matthew Payne, Theatre SKAM’s artistic and managing producer. “Who knows how they did that.”

Thieves accessed the building during one of the snowiest days in recent memory, leaving footprints but little other evidence. Payne does not expect Victoria police to locate the gear, which means Theatre SKAM will need to pay a deductible to replace the equipment through insurance before its next show in March.

That cost will inevitably be felt by user groups such as Dance Victoria and the University of Victoria, as Theatre SKAM operates on a break-even budget. “Once you use your insurance, the [rental rates for community groups] will go up. And who does that cost get passed on to? The space isn’t a revenue-generator for us.”

The break-in comes after Theatre SKAM celebrated its 25th anniversary with a party on Jan. 11. It now heads into its year-end March 31 with a budget crunch. “It feels like we just blew out the candles and here we are,” Payne said. “We keep little bit in reserve, so hopefully that is pretty close to what the deductible is."

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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