The Birch North Park Theatre and adjacent parking structure are often credited with catalyzing the resurgence of street vibrancy along University Avenue there. Now Lyric Opera San Diego, the musical theater company that owns the Birch, has filed bankruptcy. The theater’s still open for certain events and productions, but it’s unclear how the bankruptcy will impact the theater’s role as cornerstone in the new North Park.

We explore more in this week’s Behind the Scene TV. In the clip below, we interview Lyric Opera’s former artistic director, Leon Natker, who’s now been laid off; the costume and makeup designer, Pam Stompoly-Ericson; and Alex Tiscareno, the secretary for Lyric’s board of directors.

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Because the city invested millions in rehabbing the theater, it requires that the Birch be used specifically for a performance space even if someone else buys it. Here’s a copy of the 2006 document that shows the theater must remain a performing arts space for 50 years.

I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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