A scene from The Busy World is Hushed. Photo credit: Ken Jacques Photography.

Give Us a Lift!

Wheelchair Lift installation in final phase

April 2009 Update
When we started the wheelchair lift project last August, we really expected have it installed and serving our patrons by the beginning of 2009.  And we want to give kudos to our general contractor, Mark Visocky, who has stayed on top of the project.


Many people have asked – “What’s the delay?”  Original plans didn’t take into account how the fire wall abutted the property and the structures on the neighbors land, and how there was sufficient room to construct and stucco the new wall.  The structural engineer had multiple delays in revising the plans due to his other jobs. 


We finally have all the promised drawings, they’ve been approved/permitted, and inspections have been done that allow us to start the final phase of the project.  The fire wall is being enclosed and wrapped in preparation for stucco.  The wheelchair lift is in San Diego(!) and will be on site as soon as the stucco cures.  The lift installation will only take a couple of days, but now we’ve heard that, due to state budget cuts, there could be a several week delay in getting a state inspection of the lift!!


Thank you to our patrons, building tenants and neighbors for your patience.  We are still fundraising for the project, and still have a challenge match going (give $10 and it becomes $20; give $50 and it becomes $100).  We’d like to extend our thanks to the Price-Galinson Collaborative Fund for their new donation of $5,000 towards the project.

We’ll keep you abreast of the progress – we can’t wait to give you a lift!


A fund drive to replace the wheelchair lift!

Our wheelchair lift stopped working in March 2008, and replacing it triggers a number of updates that have to be made because of current building codes and ADA standards. Las Patronas has given us a lead gift of $36,635 out of a $300,000 urgent fund drive that we have started. Pledges over the next year count towards the total! The project has its permits and we’re ready to start the work. Help us provide access to the theatre to everyone who wants to attend a performance. Call us today at 619.220.0097 for additional details about this necessary fund drive.

Download a contribution form

Look Who’s Helping

Gifts totaling $146,000 thru January 8, 2009
(We currently have a challenge match of $12,000 from an anonymous donor - please give today!)

Inspired Leadership
Las Patronas
The Parker Foundation

Uplifting Support
A Friend of Diversionary
San Diego District 3 City Councilmember Toni Atkins
Mandell Weiss Charitable Trus
Kenneth & Harle Montgomery Foundatio
Blachford-Cooper Foundation
Maureen Steiner

Encouraging Access
Susan Atkins & Crystal Weathers
Douglas Bradley
Joe Brooks & Doug Walker
Gene Burkard
Joann Clark
Peter Jarman
Philip m Katcher
Robert Leyh
Arend Lijphart
Dennis Mayer
Rick & Linda Miles (plus a match from Qualcomm)
San Diego Human Dignity Foundation
Frank Stefano

Boosting Access
John Brodie
Kelly/Taylor LGBT Senior Assistance Fund
Mary Stockton & Alison McManus
Katie & Ted Wheeler

Plus over 400 households giving $10, $20 or more


September 16, 2008

Diversionary receives $12,000 grant from
Councilmember Toni Atkins for new wheelchair lift

Lift will provide access for elderly and differently-abled patrons


Diversionary Theatre announced today that they had received a grant of $12,000 from San Diego City Councilmember Toni Atkins, through discretionary TOT funds designated to each Council District, to support the construction project at Diversionary that includes the installation of a new wheelchair lift.

“We are incredibly honored to have Toni’s continued support of our work and mission,” said Dan Kirsch, Diversionary’s Executive & Artistic Director. “The new wheelchair lift will provide access for hundreds of elderly and differently-abled patrons to be able to visit the Theatre and see a performance.” The wheelchair lift takes patrons from the first floor to the second floor theatre space.

“Diversionary Theatre provides a valuable public benefit and is an important cultural organization for our entire community,” said Third District Councilmember Toni Atkins. “Their mission to produce plays that represent the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is crucial to our continuing discussion of diversity and equality. I am proud to support their continued good work, and commend them for their stewardship of the building.”

After a 14-year run, the current, unrepairable, wheelchair lift stopped working in March. Diversionary had begun a strategic plan for the building in early 2007, and the replacement of the wheelchair lift was already in the first phase remodel plans. The $300,000 first phase remodel includes a new wheelchair lift and upgrades to several other connecting building parts to meet current building codes and ADA standards, including: creating a new deck area outside of the repositioned wheelchair lift so that there is ADA turnaround radius for a wheelchair upon entering/exiting the lift; replacing the back staircase (both the width of the staircase and a turnaround radius at the bottom of the stairway need updating); and rebuilding the fire wall on the property line behind the wheelchair lift and new staircase.

“We are very grateful for the leadership gifts we have received to start this project,” said Diversionary Board President Mary Stockton. Las Patronas and The Parker Foundation gave lead gifts to start the funding of the project. Additional gifts have come in from the Councilmember Toni Atkins, Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Foundation and 12 individuals, totaling $98,045. “Now we need all of our patrons to help fund this project, so that all our friends and neighbors can have access the Theatre whenever they want to attend a performance,” said Stockton. Diversionary has started asking each audience member at the current production of “No Exit” to give $10 for the wheelchair lift fund drive, which is being matched by several community members. Diversionary’s Board members will be calling every patron during the month of October to ask for their help with this fund drive.

Started in 1986, the mission of Diversionary Theatre is to produce plays with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes that portray characters in their complexity and diversity both historically and contemporarily. Diversionary presents six mainstage shows per year, plus special events, many of which are collaborative events with other arts and LGBT organizations. The 2008-2009 annual operating budget is $613,000, with 41% coming from ticket sales; 41% coming from individual contributions, foundation grants and from the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture; and 18% comes from rental and miscellaneous income. Diversionary owns the building at 4545 Park Boulevard, but carries a $586,000 mortgage.

Diversionary is asking their patrons to please consider making a tax-deductible gift, of any amount, to the wheelchair lift fund drive. Please call or email Dan Kirsch at Diversionary (dkirsch@diversionary.org, 619.220.6830) for additional information or to make a gift or pledge.