When Brian Sivesind, the founder of The Empty Space theatre in central Bakersfield walked through the theatre doors last week, he knew something wasn't right.
"You know at first you don't suspect anything because we walk in here every day and sometimes people leave the office door open or a dressing room door open," Sivesind said.
When the artistic director noticed cash and other props missing from the back room, it was clear the Empty Space theatre was, literally, empty.
Although this non-profit organization is one of the few donation-based theatres left in the United States, the Empty Space has survived the tough economy for the last 10 years through the generosity of the Bakersfield community.
"We accept donations, we don't normally charge. We are doing a fundraiser this weekend so its a little bit different to make up for the losses that we had recently," Kayleigh Peaker, communications director, said.
Despite the setback, Sivesind said his theatre will continue to live on.
"I think we are special because people know they can come here whether they have money or not so that's what makes it so disappointing that someone would come in and take this stuff," Sivesind said.
"It really kind of stinks because this is our home and for a lot of us, we come here to hang out with our friends and do shows and things like that so to have someone come into your home and take things that don't belong to them is really sad and disheartening and stressful," Peaker said.
To donate to the Empty Space theatre, go to www.esonline.org.