Long Beach Shakespeare Company to rename playhouse after the late Helen Borgers

The founding artistic director of local theater group, Long Beach Shakespeare Company, will be honored for her dedication to the arts and the community almost a year after her death.

The company will rename its Bixby Knolls-area playhouse “The Helen Borgers Theatre” with a rededication ceremony later this month.

“Just as Shakespeare himself gave the groundlings a glimpse into the lives of royalty, great beauties, adventurers, and magical creatures, Helen Borgers brought the unobtainable to Long Beach through productions meant to be just as good and thorough as any in the Globe Theater,”  said current Artistic Director Brandon Cutts in a statement.

Borgers, who died at 60 from an illness and complications from surgery, is perhaps best known as the legendary DJ on KKJZ (K-Jazz). She was on air for 38 years.

Borgers led the theater company from 1997 until her passing in November 2017. Her devotedness to its members, and to theatre and literature elevated the community and the arts.

The new signage was funded by donations from theater patrons and will be visible from Atlantic Avenue, according to LBSC.

The rededication and ribbon-cutting will take place on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. days before Borges’ favorite holiday, Halloween.

“It’s especially fitting to celebrate her contributions at her favorite time of year,” stated theatre manager Dana Leach.

Following the ceremony, the company’s production of the original 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds will take place at 8 p.m. The production was the Shakespeare Company’s first in their Atlantic Avenue playhouse in 2002 and has become a yearly tradition. Mat Kaplan, host of Planetary Radio, will introduce the show.

War of the Worlds will be offered on three different dates, Friday, Oct. 26, Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 28. For tickets and more information, visit the website here or call (562) 997-1494.

The Helen Borgers Theatre is located at 4250 Atlantic Ave.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.