Sacramento, CA (May 3, 2021)On April 26, 2021, The State Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee passed Senate Bill 805 (SB 805), “Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021,” authored by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) representing the 22nd District.

SB 805 will create a critical funding infrastructure to help small nonprofit performing arts companies throughout the state of California to continue to be an important social justice vehicle for marginalized voices.  Testimony in Sacramento, CA was given by Dolores Huerta, Labor Rights Icon, Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers of America and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Josefina López, award-winning Playwright and Screenwriter (Real Women Have Curves), and Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater located in Boyle Heights, CA.  Learn more at

SB 805 will create a funding program that will administer grants based on the size of company (i.e. smaller companies get larger grants) to help small theaters comply with AB 5.  There will be a maximum revenue cap for eligible organizations.  This funding will apply to all performing arts industries, including theaters, operas, and symphonies.  It will also create a low-cost payroll services to nonprofit performing arts organizations.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for small theaters,” Senator Susan Rubio said.

“I grew up in Downtown Los Angeles at a time when you couldn’t escape drugs, gangs or violence.  Everyone you knew, one way or another, got pulled in.  Luckily, I was a very creative child and the arts became my escape.  I was able to put my energy and creativity to work in positive ways.  I spent seven years performing and volunteering in small theatres and saw the transformative work our community produces.  So I want to thank the Committee for passing SB 805.  This is about providing equity and protecting emerging voices and artists from marginalized communities.”

Dolores Huerta, said:

“In this critical time in our country, community theaters are desperately needed to enlighten, educate and motivate people to engage in social change.  What is at stake is not an industry per se, but the vehicle of the voiceless and the downtrodden have to bring about change in the consciousness of the public at large.


“Not to mention, they represent the only access children in disadvantaged communities have compared to their more affluent counterparts. SB 805 provides a solution to help create and preserve opportunities for emerging artists, performers and people in the performing arts sector – particularly workers from marginalized communities. For all these reasons, I enthusiastically support SB 805 (Rubio), ‘Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021.’”

Josefina Lopez, said:

“I started my own small theater so that I could produce my plays and empower my community to learn to write plays and tell our stories.  CASA 0101 has been my way of making my community visible and heard.  It has also been my way of creating community so we could heal some of the trauma in Boyle Heights and also to give a voice to the wounds our community has carried by being left out of the history books and neglected economically and in other social ways.  Small theaters are the only way marginalized communities get their stories told.  If you are not a white male, small theaters allow for dreams to come true; they allow us to be the protagonists of our stories so we can see ourselves as the powerful people that we truly are.”

As of May 3rd, 2021, the SB 805 Coalition consists of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and 48 organizations/individuals throughout the state of California, including 5 Theater Leagues, 40 small 99-seat theaters and 3 independent artists.

Click here for a list of supporters of SB 805.

Continue the conversation with us on Instagram, on Twitter, and on Facebook.  Hashtags include#SB805, #THEATERMATTERS, #CALIFORNIA, #TEATRO, #BIPOCAccess, #SOSCA, #TheaterIsSocialJustice

SB 805, is authored by State Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) representing the 22nd District, and co-authored by State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) representing the 26th District.  SB 805 will next be heard by State Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

More About SB 805:

SB 805, entitled, “Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021,” is the first bill in the nation that will create a critical funding infrastructure to help assist Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Companies (SNPAC) with average adjusted gross revenues equal to, or less than $1.4 million, to be adjusted every five years based on the California Consumer Price Index.

SB 805 will direct the California Arts Council to establish the California Nonprofit Performing Arts Paymaster, which will provide low-cost payroll and paymaster services to SNPACs.  This legislation will establish the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund to ensure that SNPACs can pay all workers minimum wage, particularly workers in marginalized communities.

Small nonprofit theaters are incubators for playwrights, actors, designers, directors and other artists.  They have historically provided networking opportunities and mentorship for Black, Indigenous and People of Color artists to facilitate connections necessary for career advancement by providing performance experience that helps to open doors to larger, less accessible companies.  Furthermore, SNPACs contribute to the economic growth, social well-being and cultural vitality of the local communities they serve.  Learn more at

More About Senator Susan Rubio:

Senator Susan Rubio represents Senate District 22 in Los Angeles County. It includes the cities of Alhambra, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, El Monte, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Rosemead, South El Monte, Temple City and West Covina as well as the unincorporated communities of Avocado Heights, Charter Oak, Citrus, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Mayflower Village, North El Monte, South Monrovia Island, South San Gabriel, South San Jose Hills, Valinda, Vincent and West Puente Valley.  Learn more at


Steve Moyer
Press Contact: Steve Moyer

Steve Moyer Public Relations @ Work: 818.784.7027
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SB 805 will create a critical funding infrastructure to help assist our SMALL NONPROFIT PERFORMING ARTS COMPANIES (SNPACs), known as the PERFORMING ARTS EQUITABLE PAYROLL FUND, which will allocate matching funds to pay all workers minimum wage.

In addition, the bill also directs the California Arts Council to establish the CALIFORNIA NONPROFIT PERFORMING ARTS PAYMASTER, which will provide low-cost payroll and paymaster services to SNPACs.






“Over The last several years our organization, California Arts Advocates has worked with the legislature to investigate exemptions for small budget arts organizations that due to systemic undercapitalization of the arts and culture sector and the companion desire to keep arts affordable and accessible for all, simply cannot afford compliance with AB 5. Our deep concern now is that the one two punch of AB 5 and COVID may result in a loss of small budget arts organizations across California that are critical to offering community and educational based programs that employ emerging performers. That is why we support SB 805 and look forward to working with labor and the legislature to see its passage.”

Julie Baker
Executive Director of California for the Arts

“The world of intimate theatre provides the only access many artists, especially artists of color, have to hone their craft, network with others and ultimately achieve the kind of upward mobility that would otherwise be locked behind a paywall. This vital, grassroots pipeline will be the victim of collateral damage if we don’t find a way to make our voices heard to the powers that be.”

Marc Antonio Pritchett
Co-Artistic Director of Sacred Fools Theater Company

“Without SB 805, we will be leaving behind – and shutting out – countless local artists and stories, as well as a significant amount of representation on and off our stages.”

Oanh Nguyen
Executive Artistic Director of Chance Theater

“I’m surely not against paying actors. The Victory Theatre Center has always paid its actors. But the unintended consequences of AB 5 are that the majority of little theaters with budgets under $250,000 per year will be unable to function. The Victory will not be able to do its usual four productions per year. It’s even questionable we could do one. We could not continue our outreach to schools. The closure of the majority of small theaters would be a loss to our communities.”

Maria Gobetti
Co-Founding Artistic Director of The Victory Theatre Center

“Small professional arts organizations are immensely important because they are often the only arts incubators available for emerging talent. Without these organizations many writers, actors, directors, and designers simply would not have an opportunity to refine and show their work and be discovered. Each year, Rogue Machine offers 50 to 100 artists that opportunity to work and refine. Rogue Machine is proud that Kemp Powers, screenwriter of One Night in Miami… and Soul, and John Pollono, screenwriter of Stronger and Small Engine Repair, were able to start their careers through productions at Rogue Machine.”

John Perrin Flynn
Founding Artistic Director of Rogue Machine Theatre

“With the passage of SB 805, this bill will have a positive impact on BIPOC theaters that are doing work that benefits the public good, especially in low-income and underrepresented communities.”

Armando Molino
Artistic Director for Company of Angeles

“Small theaters don’t have development departments with a staff who focus exclusively on grant writing and donor development, nor marketing department or even a technical department. In small theaters, a very small number of people wear an inordinate number of hats to make the arts come alive. Comparing small non-profits arts organizations to other sectors of the economy is like comparing apples to oranges. There is very little money that is generated in the small performing arts world, yet we provide valuable services in terms access, representation and community building.”

Emmanuel Deleage
Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater

“The 99-seat theater is a haven where new voices of writers and performers are nurtured in a safe environment. It allows the non-commercial stories to be developed and produced for low-income audiences who lack the financial means to experience live theater in larger houses. It is in the small 99-seat theater where we have achieved: Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility.”

Odalys Nanin
Producing Artistic Director/President of Macha Theatre Company/Films

“SB 805 will be the beacon light of hope to diverse voices and communities of color whose platforms have been and will continue to be the small non-profit theatres and visual arts organizations. It is the bridge of dreams and job opportunities to major profit theatres and arts organizations. It is the educational artistic platform for millions of young actors, artists, playwrights, designers, technicians, directors and producers whose dreams are to contribute to the artistic and social landscape. It is the foundation of the large profit theatres for their future artists and audiences. It is a step to the economic engine of this country.”

William Virchis
Producing Artistic Director of Teatro Máscara Mágica

“As an Independent Artist SB 805 which will allow me to nourish future generations with artistic tools and alternative ways to express, heal and tell their narratives of their families.”

Cristal Gonzalez
Freelance Artist