Posted: July 25, 2012
Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara has commenced construction on its new home at the Victoria Theater. On June 28, after a decade of planning, Ensemble began extensive renovation of the 80-year old Victoria Community Hall at 33 West Victoria Street, transforming the facility into a modern, intimate 300-seat theater slated for a grand opening in fall 2013.
The New Vic will become the permanent home for Ensemble Theatre Company and complete the City of Santa Barbara's long-term vision for a downtown performing arts district to serve the broader arts community. It will be an exceptional venue for lectures, dance, ballet, chamber music, film, and a rich variety of performing arts.
"This is a major milestone for Ensemble," said Jonathan Fox. "Our new home will enable us to increase the breadth and quality of our artistic work, as well as serve as a community gathering place for all the arts."
Chaired by Léni Fé Bland and Derek A. Westen, the campaign has, to date, raised more than $8.7 million toward the $10.5 million needed for the renovation. More than 50 campaign volunteers are working diligently to meet this goal. In addition to the renovation costs, the campaign will raise $4.5 million in endowment and stabilization funds. The endowment is needed to keep admission prices affordable, subsidize young audience programs, expand educational outreach, and provide for Ensemble's financial stability.
With the Santa Barbara-based architectural firm PMSM Architects, Ensemble has completed the final designs for the project. The project received unanimous approval from the Historic Landmarks Committee for necessary improvements to the entry and the stage house portion of the building, while still preserving the historically important and familiar exterior architecture of the building. Construction has been awarded to Frank Schipper Construction Company.
At the New Vic, Ensemble will continue its youth-oriented programs and will be able to grow its main-stage productions into a broader range of plays. With a larger stage and state-of-the-art lighting, sound and technical capabilities, the New Vic will provide expanded opportunities for more complex production designs, and larger cast shows, as well as musicals and dance productions. We look forward to becoming a home to the rich variety of offerings from Santa Barbara's artistic community.
Prominent donor tribute and naming opportunities are still available. For more information, please contact the Ensemble's development office at 805-965-5400 x105.