Montclair’s Studio Players Theatrical Stock Destroyed in Flash Flood

The flash flooding that hit Montclair and the greater Essex County area on August 11 took its toll at Studio Players.  Though our performance space, seating, and lobby are well above ground, our furniture and prop storage, scenic shop, and actor’s prep room and heating system are all below ground.

The flood waters entered the building by simultaneously coming up through the drains and via sloping driveway that hasn’t been used in over two decades and forced open what had once been a garage door that had been walled up. It also forced open an adjacent metal, entrance door.

Judging by the high water mark left on filing cabinets where historical records and photos are stored( now a total loss), the water reached a height of over four feet. We are extremely lucky that no one was in the facility at the time, and no one was injured. We have not seen water enter the building on this level since Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and even then, the water didn’t reach this level.

It isn’t hyperbole to state that the damage is massive:

Dump sink knocked over and legs collapsed now unusable.

Paint from adjacent shelves crashed to floor paint mixing with mud on floor.

The entire collection of upholstered furniture, wooden chairs, vintage kitchen items save for a few pieces on a high rack a complete loss. Much of this furniture was vintage from the turn of the century to the 1940’s. Near as we can tell they were floated off their racks that were 4 inches off the floor (at least) and swirled into a churning mass of debris. 


The decorative molding, baseboards, railings floated off their shelves and smashed in the waters or harpooned through other items.

Stage carpet collection (much of which was vintage persian rugs) destroyed.

Refrigerators overturned

Also affected was our tennant Essex Youth Theatre whose prop and costume collection is in the same location.

What’s next:

We are ordering a dumpster. We’ll update on its exact arrival. We’ll need many hands to get things into it.

We have professionals coming in to look at our boiler and heating system to see what if any damage was done by the rising water there. Our gas has been turned off as a precaution.

Studio is run as it has always been run by volunteers. We are the community threatre of Montclair and the surrounding area since 1937. NO ONE receives a salary. We are dentists, paralegals, EMTs, teachers, project managers, etc. by day and lovers of performing arts by night. We receive no local, state, or federal funding. Our only source of income is ticket sales and donations. That we use to put on 8 shows a year (4 for adults 4 for kids) with inclusive casting.

Please donate to help us. At minimum we will need to pay for a very large dumpster(s), the inspection of our heating system and possible repair, ventilation of the downstairs, and that’s before we even get to cataloging what we have left and figuring out how to best replace it. We are a 501c3. YOur donation is tax deductible and can be made via a check to Studio Players, 14 Alvin Place, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043. You can also donate via PayPal.