Aug 13, 2013 4:02 PM
Cambria is one of the quaint little communities that draws a lot of tourists to the Central Coast. And within that community is a little gem that has been drawing people from all over for nearly 40 years. Yet a lot of locals have never been. If you're one of them, you may want to adjust your schedule accordingly, because the Pewter Plough Playhouse is definitely more proof There's No Place Like Home.
It's Classic Cambria really. Quaint. Cozy. Full of character. And full of characters.
The Pewter Plough Playhouse has been at the corner of Main and Sheffield in Cambria's West Village for more than 38 years. You can see it from the street and Highway 1, yet it is amazing how many locals say they never knew it was there. "It stuns me that people are so blind." says director Sandy Bosworth. Even still, for nearly four decades it's been drawing first-timers back time and time again.
Jim Buckly founded the place with his late wife Olga after they moved up this way from Hollywood. Jim enjoyed a career as an art director at MGM and doing what he called "Sidewalk Theatre" doing window displays for Sax Fifth Avenue. "When we came, there were no sidewalks in here. We came when they were putting in the sidewalks, curbs and gutters." he says.
The name traces back to when the playhouse was an antique shop. "I had bought this plough...." Buckley explains. "It had been burnished and it looked like pewter to me. So we called it the Pewter Plough Antique Shop. That's how it started. So when we opened the playhouse, we kept it...the PPP." The namesake plough still sits in front of the place.
The Buckleys arrived in Cambria with a lot of memorablia which is what prompted the Antique shop, but eventually Jim's love of theatre led to him turning the garden out back into the auditorium. He invited a group from down south to put on the first show, "Look Homeward Angel".
Soon after that, they started hiring their own talent and crew, and build up a group of players who have returned many for years. "We had a good time building up a repertoire of good plays and we've been doing it every since." say Buckley.
Olga served as hostess and sometimes starred in the shows too. Jim often did, and directed a lot as well. "Oh yeah! That was the fun of it!" he says.
Today, the place looks much like it did when it was founded. Jim has handed over director duties to Bosworth, who gets the magic of the place. "It's reminiscent of another time when theatre was important and not a dying art in our society, which it often is today. There's something special and magical about this little building." she says. "It has an era of old time that people love, you know?"
She loves the intimacy of it's 50 seat theatre, none numbered, but named after the Hollywood greats they aim to honor. There is the cafe where guests can mingle and interact during intermissions. And she loves the diversity of the shows that play here. "They do comedy. They do drama. They do well-known shows, unknown shows, and they're all great."
You don't find a big marqee, or big Hollywood names, but you will find big proof at this little Cambria gem, that there's No Place Like Home.
Playing right now at the PPP is a female version of the Odd Couple. Shows run Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September first.
Tickets are $15.00 to $20.00. For more information click here.
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