The show goes on for all at Jewel Box Theatre
June 10, 2008 · Updated 5:53 PM
"POULSBO - After a much-touted grand opening, there was some question earlier this week as to whether or not the show would go on again at the new Jewel Box Theatre. Poulsbo Players held their first performances of Wrong Turn at Lungfish last weekend but, according to Mayor Donna Jean Bruce, did so in violation of city code. As of Wednesday, the Iverson Street theatre was still out of compliance with national American Disabilities Act access regulations - something which prohibited Lisa Walker from attending last Friday's show. Upon her arrival, Walker, who is in a wheelchair, found there was no ramp that led into the building. The lack of access was due to a last-minute change of plans, said David Speck of the Poulsbo Players, who pointed out that a Jensen Way business that had agreed to provide the service backed out just prior to the play. We're still trying to get access from one of the businesses. We're still working every day to convince this business to do this but we're running into problems, Speck said earlier this week. We're committed to the community and want everybody to be able to enjoy the show. We hope we can get them in for this next show, he added. And, the show will go on as scheduled. Poulsbo Players president Sondra Ashton confirmed Thursday afternoon that temporary ADA access was indeed ready for the weekend shows through Farmer's Insurance on Jensen Way. They've come up with a plan that will be fine as an interim access, said city engineer John Stephenson. If the Poulsbo Players hadn't addressed the matter, there would not have been a show at the Jewel Box Theatre last night, according to the city. Wednesday night, Mayor Bruce had threatened to pull the temporary occupancy permit that was issued for the site. Additionally, Stephenson had written Ashton Thursday morning, explaining the importance of resolving the situation in a timely manner. They're required to make code, he explained prior to the temporary access being provided. They had it or at least they told me they had it under control last week. They'll have to cancel all future performances until this is resolved. While the message was a harsh one, Mayor Bruce agreed, it was one the city had planned to stick to. All along they knew they had to have ADA accessibility. I thought, give them the benefit of the doubt - obviously that was a mistake, she said, adding that such required access follows federal law. I was kind of hoping to avoid any unsavory publicity on this but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes. Ashton, who was pleased that the matter had been resolved, said she spent the majority of Thursday answering phone calls about the ADA access at the site. Shelia Murray, a member of the city's ADA committee, was present when Walker was turned away from the theatre and expressed both frustration with the process and hope that a permanent solution would be found. I watched a person denied her right to attend the opening of the Jewel Box Theatre, Murray said. As we were heading back to the car Lisa was very upset. They should not have allowed the theatre to open until (access) was taken care of, she said. "