Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 4:20 am | Fair 44º


Ensemble Theatre Co. Announces Purchase of Victoria Theater

The Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce that Leatrice Luria and the Luria Family Trust have purchased the 11,185-square-foot Victoria Theater from the theater’s three owners (CALM, RSVP and Unity Shoppe) on behalf of Ensemble Theatre.

Ensemble is well under way on completely renovating the theater into an intimate, contemporary, 300-seat venue that will not only serve as the permanent home of Ensemble, but will serve a rich variety of performing arts organizations throughout the year. Construction will be completed in October.

Ensemble will celebrate the opening of the New Vic in November, and Ensemble’s first production of its 2013-14 season will open in December. The purchase transaction paves the way for Ensemble’s permanent control of the theater.

“Lee Luria’s incredible generosity in purchasing the theater will transform our Ensemble at the New Vic capital campaign, and guarantee the long-term prosperity of Ensemble,” said Derek Westen, co-chair of the Ensemble at the New Vic campaign. “In addition, the purchase will provide enormous benefits to CALM, Unity Shoppe, RSVP, Santa Barbara’s Downtown Performing Arts District and the entire performing arts community. The real estate expertise of Kandy Luria-Budgor was critical in making this purchase possible.”

“Lee Luria and her family are once again making a landmark contribution to Santa Barbara’s cultural resources,” said Jonathan Fox, Ensemble’s executive artistic director. “We are indebted to them for their generosity. We are at a thrilling moment in the creation of our new facility, a professional space that will match the level of our artistic work.”

After 10 years of planning and research, Ensemble launched its Ensemble at the New Vic capital campaign to completely renovate the 80-year old Victoria Community Hall. The project will transform Victoria Hall into a modern, intimate, 300-seat theater that will become the permanent home for Ensemble, and complete the city’s long-term vision for a downtown performing arts district to serve the broader performing arts community.

Chaired by Westen and Léni Fé Bland, the campaign is raising $11.5 million for construction and planning-related expenses to completely renovate the interior of the building, and an additional $4.5 million for an endowment, purchase and reserves. To date, the campaign has raised more than $10.7 million of the overall $16 million goal.

At the New Vic, Ensemble will continue its youth-oriented programs and will be able to grow its main-stage productions into a broader scope of plays each season. With a larger stage and state-of-the-art lighting, sound and technical capabilities, the New Vic will provide expanded opportunities for more complex set designs and larger cast shows, as well as musicals and dance productions.

Designed by the Santa Barbara-based architectural firm PMSM, the New Vic will be an exceptional, affordable venue for lectures, film, dance, music, and other performing arts, complementing the other much larger venues in town.

Prominent naming opportunities are still available for portions of the New Vic. For more information on the project, call Mehgan Tanner, director of development, at 805.965.5400 x105.

The Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara was founded in 1979 and is celebrating its 33rd anniversary season. Under the leadership of Fox, Ensemble is Santa Barbara’s longest-running, award-winning professional theater company.

— James Breen is a public relations and marketing coordinator for the Ensemble Theatre Company.

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