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Lobero Theatre Raises the Curtain After Six-Month, $7 Million Renovation

With a packed calendar ahead, the historic Santa Barbara venue reopens offering wider seats, restored ceilings and larger restrooms

Santa Barbara's Lobero Theatre was refurbished inside and out as part of a $7 million renovation that was wrapping up this week. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

It's curtain up at the newly revamped Lobero Theatre this week, as the historic Santa Barbara venue was welcoming its first performance on stage Wednesday since embarking on a major renovation.

The space hosted a rehearsal on stage on Tuesday, and staff were preparing Wednesday to host Warren Miller's film Ticket to Ride as the first event in the new space.

The Lobero, at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., is the oldest, continuously operated theater in California, and has been undergoing a $7 million renovation project for the last six months.

The project replaced worn-out seats with wider, roomier ones, installed air conditioning and ventilation, added bigger restrooms and restored the theater's ceilings.

Noozhawk checked in Wednesday with Executive Director David Asbell, who said work on the project essentially is done and ready for the public.

The construction actually wrapped up three days early, Asbell said, making the project on time and on budget.

"There are a few guys working on the building today, but we're probably about 99.9 percent done with the project," he said.

Small things like switching out some light fixtures and doing some decorative painting are still on the list, but those make up "little things" in the grand scheme of the project, he said.

Some landscaping in the front of the building is still being completed as well.

"We're really excited," he said of the theater's reopening.

Wider, more-comfortable seats were part of the Lobero Theatre's renovation. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Ticket to Ride on Wednesday night was to be the first event to be held in the new space.

After that, the theater dives right into a packed winter calendar, with a benefit for Notes for Notes taking place on Friday and several events to show off the renovations.

The public can check out the improvements at 7:30 p.m. Thursday as part of the First Thursday After Hours event that will showcase the city's historic theaters over the next several months.

"There will be musicians and drinks and a lot of information about the the historic theater district," Asbell said.

Later this month, the public is invited to an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 17. 

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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