During the next two years, two more silent movies (8mm film) were created: Valentine's Revenge (a spoof of horror flicks) and Carleen (which took up where the ballad "Teen Angel" left off). Since many of the group had theatrical backgrounds, they soon wanted to experiment with live theatre.
Meanwhile, a proposal was being written for a pilot production of A Christmas Carol, to be presented at the Veterans Home in Yountville with the key consideration that all residents of the Veterans Home be allowed access to rehearsals, see the performances free of charge and that all effort be made to include residents in the production itself, as actors, stage crew or house management personnel. The proposal was accepted and, for the next three years (1987-89), Dreamweavers regularly performed A Christmas Carol at the Lincoln Theatre, as well as at other locations. In addition, the following plays were also performed at the Lincoln Theatre during this time: Death Warmed Over, Ah, Sweet Mystery!, Murder in Company, The Golden Summer Revue, Blithe Spirit, and Rosalie Street.
However, performing plays at the Lincoln Theatre was not easy. The auditorium was always much in demand. The troupe had to fit its rehearsals in where and whenever it could and it wasn't unusual to arrive there to find the stage covered with chairs and music stands from the symphony rehearsal the night before. All sets had to be “flown” and the stage cleared of all props after each and every rehearsal. Thus, having "a place of our own" became a goal for Dreamweavers.
In January 1990, Dreamweavers moved into this space located at 101-P South Coombs Street. The warehouse was converted into an intimate theatre with an 80 seat capacity. 1990 also saw the first time Dreamweavers attempted more than 3 major productions in one year, performing Harvey, The Mousetrap, Murder at the Howard Johnson, Crossing Delancey, and Christmas Laughter, Christmas Tears.
In 1997, the major shows took on a Southern flair: they were Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Beyond Therapy, Steel Magnolias, and You Can't Take it With You.
1999 would prove to be the last year at our Coombs Street location. The shows that year were Harvey, Dancing at Lughnasa, Sarte's No Exit paired with Moliere's The Flying Doctor, the musical Into the Woods, and Marvin's Room. YAT productions included The Trial of Tom Sawyer, The Emperor's New Clothes, and A Cricket in Times Square. At the end of 1999, the Napa Fire Marshall closed down the exit that went through the glass studio next door; as a result, the theatre was left with only one legal fire exit, and the theatre went dark.
In late spring, the theatre received a commitment from the landlords of the River Park Shopping to offer the space of what once was Marlowe's (and prior to that a two theatre cinema complex). The Board had to obtain a use permit from the City of Napa, converting the use of the space from a nightclub back to a theatre (a process that took a number of months), and had to negotiate a lease with the landlord. In September 2000, with lease and use permit in hand, the theatre finally said goodbye to the Coombs Street location, packed up truckloads of props, chairs, flats, costumes, set pieces, etc., and moved it all to the new location in River Park. Plans to create the new theatre space were set in motion. This included construction of interior walls, the stage and tech booth; construction of an exterior handicap ramp; painting of the interior of the theatre; and construction and painting of the upstairs offices and green room. During all this time, the company raised almost $40,000 in donations from loyal patrons which, thanks to donated labor and discounted professional work, made $60,000 of construction and installation possible.
In October/November, the first show was performed in the new theatre (in the space that would later become known as the "black box") called Three Viewings. However, there was no time for Dreamweavers to rest on its laurels – Dracula was set to open the 2001 season in January, and the main stage was still not ready. It had to be completed, risers for seats had to be constructed, the wall between the main stage area and the black box had to be torn down, and lots of painting still had to be done. With a great deal of help from numerous volunteers, this was all accomplished literally the day before opening night!
The 2001 season also saw the continuation of the black box, the upper area of the theatre that could be used for performances when the main stage was unavailable due to set construction and rehearsals. Black box performances included Stop Kiss, done in collaboration with Napa High School drama students, True West, and an original play written by a member of Dreamweavers called Salvador Dali: Image of the Body.
Also during 2001, a season ticket program was begun and very successful Thursday night community non-profit fundraiser performances, the latter being a way for Dreamweavers to help the many non-profit agencies in our county raise money by allowing them to sell the house at whatever price they wished and include other fundraising activities like silent auctions and raffles. Most of our non-profit partners have made from $1,500.00 to $3,000.00 on these nights. It is Dreamweavers’ way of giving back to our community.
2001 proved to be a banner year for the theatre. Crowds routinely exceeded 100, often exceeded 120, and once reached 140 during a performance of The Foreigner (the previous record at the Coombs Street site was a very uncomfortable 105). Gone were the old back-breaking folding chairs – the new theatre had comfortable new chairs; now, instead of two tiny restrooms, there were two new spacious ones; gone was the old warehouse theatre too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer – the new theatre had both central heating and air conditioning. Participant and audience comfort had improved greatly!