SANTA ANA COLLEGE (SAC) celebrated its 100th year in 2015. "Dramatics" (now known as Theatre Arts) was one of the very first programs supported by the college when it opened its doors in 1915, and has been serving students and the community continuously since its inception. Through its instructional programs and theatrical productions, SAC Theatre serves as a key access point to higher education and culture for residents in the City of Santa Ana, a city that is primarily Latino (80%), and wherein a substantial number of residents have low educational attainment (45% did not graduate high school) and 18% live below the poverty level (U. S. Census Bureau).
During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, SAC Theatre was home to a professional artists in residence theatre company that produced a full season of professional plays featuring professional stage and student actors. As a result of the budget crisis and subsequent cut backs in state funding for theatre programs in the public school system, this resident company disseminated along with its consistent season of productions.
In 2011, under the vision of new leadership, SAC Theatre made the decision to produce plays that dealt with modern social and political issues and that were culturally tied to the demographics of the city and its community. Three of our last five productions have been plays written by Latino playwrights: Catalepsy by Dominick and Christopher Gallardo, an original student written and directed play, April 2013; Welcome to Arroyo's by Kristoffer Diaz, March 2013; and Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez, March 2012. Our other most recent productions have targeted important segments of our community, such as war veterans (American Soldiers, October 2012, a west coast premiere), gays/lesbians (Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman, November 2011), women (Necessary Targets by Eve Ensler, November 2012), and menstrual cycles, penis sizes, and male/female relationships in the farcical sex comedy Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues by Matt Morillo (October 2013).
In addition to the new focus of our stage productions, new leadership has committed the SAC Theatre Department to provide practical classroom training experiences to students in technical theatre and performance that would better prepare them for careers in the constantly fluctuating 21st century entertainment market.
It is our desire to inspire a passion, love, and appreciation for the art of theatre and assist our students in developing a realistic plan for beginning a career in the entertainment industry. The focus of our classroom training has evolved to focus on fundamental theoretical knowledge and its application in a real world setting that prepares students for transfer to undergraduate collegiate programs and/or successful careers in the entertainment industry.
SAC THEATRE ARTS (SACTA) now produces 3 to 4 plays and/or musicals and one short or feature film each year. Under the new leadership vision the department has collaborated with the Santa Ana College Foundation (SACF) to build a donor and subscription program, Friends of the Theater. The mission of the SAC Foundation is to maintain, expand and enhance the educational opportunities of Santa Ana College by linking community organizations, businesses, funding sources, alumni and staff, thus preserving our near century of "A History of Success, A Future of Promise." The purpose of this collaboration is to establish a theatre department committed to high quality training in acting and technical theatre as well as vibrant seasons of new, innovative stage productions.
SAC Theatre's goal is to expand its role to engage the community in quality cultural productions that give voice to the under-represented, while challenging the audience to think deeply about current issues and events.