The Granada Theatre
The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara is among the many local performance venues forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Ticketed events and live performing arts are returning soon to Santa Barbara County.

After more than a year of empty stages because of the COVID-19 pandemic, shuttered theaters and other venues can reopen with modifications. It’s the first time since March 2020 for many spots.

The local theater community and other performing arts groups expressed an eagerness to welcome audiences back and fill the stages with dance, music and live productions.

Indoor live events and performances are allowed now with capacity limits and modifications, including physical distancing, advance ticket purchases, and designated areas for eating and drinking, among other COVID-19-related protocols issued by the state.

California’s framework for loosening restrictions is governed by the level of COVID-19 transmission, according to the state.

Additional performances could take place in the upcoming months since Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that the state’s color-coded reopening tier system will end in mid-June if COVID-19 case rates stay low and vaccine supply is sufficient.

Several local theater operators were still hashing out reopening details as of this week, but here is what is known so far.

» Once a week, live music is happening outdoors in a theater-adjacent space in downtown Santa Barbara. The Granada Theatre was hosting only one in-person event as of this week — the two-hour Roar and Pour series in front of the theater, 1214 State St., on Thursdays. The theater’s Instagram account features the latest information on upcoming performances, date changes and more.

“Presented in collaboration with The Granada Theatre, Opera Santa Barbara and The Good Lion, Roar and Pour is where downtown Santa Barbara meets the best of local musical talent,” Granada officials said in a statement. “Right in front of The Good Lion and The Granada Theatre on Santa Barbara’s vibrant State Street, a diverse series of musicians will be playing live music — yes, live music — as you enjoy drinks and food from the popular craft cocktail bar.

“This joint effort is inspired by our desire to reinvigorate Santa Barbara’s performing arts scene, music venues and hospitality industries. We want to bring live music back to downtown Santa Barbara and contribute to the revitalization of State Street.”

» Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara, plans to have in-person performances as soon as May.

The Granada Theatre

The Granada Theatre has announced a two-hour Roar and Pour series in front of the theater, at 1214 State St., on Thursdays. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Ticket details were not yet available, according to Teri Ball, executive director of Center Stage Theater. For the latest details on performances, visit Center Stage Theater’s website.

“It took so long for the state to issue guidelines, and now that they are finally out, it takes some time for groups to pull a performance together,” Ball said in an email. “As we kept telling the state, this is not like reopening other businesses. Performances take weeks and often months to plan. During the time when we had no idea when performances would be allowed, or under what circumstance, it was difficult to make any plans or preparations.”

In some cases, Ball said, performers scheduled at Center Stage Theater may also add a livestream or video component for audiences. But all will include a live audience, unless there is a reversal in the public health orders aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.

“The plan is … to have a live audience, and the capacity will be based on what tier we are in at the time,” Ball said.

The Santa Barbara Festival Ballet dance performance is scheduled for May 22-23 at Center Stage Theater.

Center Stage Theater and the UC Santa Barbara Initiative for New and Reimagined Work will present “ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence” May 29-30.

Selah Dance Collective, a Santa Barbara-based contemporary dance company, will hold performances on June 4-6 at Center Stage Theater.

Center Stage Theater and the UC Santa Barbara Initiative for New and Reimagined Work will offer a “Welcome Back Dance Festival” on June 17-20. The performances will celebrate the return of live performance and all the creativity that has been percolating during the pandemic, Ball said. 

» “No events” — that’s what the Arlington Theatre’s website says for “upcoming events” and “next event” on Thursday. The historic venue in downtown Santa Barbara is home to film screenings, concerts, community events and other gatherings.

» At this time, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara remains optimistic about having live, in-person events for its 2021 Summer School and Festival scheduled to take place June 28 to Aug. 7, said Kate Oberjat, director of marketing and communications at the music academy. 

“We will also continue offering digital content that is convenient to view at home, anytime,” Oberjat said. “A more detailed announcement is slated for June 8.”

» The Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara, is scheduling in-theater events starting in August, said Cecilia Martini-Muth, director of marketing and communications at the Lobero Theatre Foundation.

Click here for the latest events and ticket sales.

The Lobero Theatre is rescheduling its event featuring Kathleen Madigan to a new date. The performance date hadn’t been announced as of this week. The show was originally scheduled for March 17.

The “Whose Live Anyway?” event will be moved to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Lobero Theatre.

Lobero Theatre officials are excited to welcome back the audience, Martini-Muth said.

“We will have a more formal announcement in the next month or so as we get closer to the June 15 date, and get more information as to what guidelines we will be required to follow,” she said.

California is slated to fully open its economy on June 15, depending on vaccine supply and COVID-19 metrics.

The New Vic Theatre

The Ensemble Theatre Company at The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara, doesn’t “have specific events ready for announcement but hope to do so soon,” according to its box office manager. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

» The Ensemble Theatre Company at The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara, doesn’t “have specific events ready for announcement but hope to do so soon,” said Joshua James, customer relations and the box office manager.

“At the present time, we are excited about the recent progress with state announcements regarding in person venue reopening and are currently developing our strategy and plans to have in person events as soon as possible,” James told Noozhawk in an email.

» A live concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 1122 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara, is scheduled for October. 

Brothers Osborne, a duo who are signed to EMI Records Nashville, recently announced plans for their headlining “We’re Not for Everyone Tour.” The show will include a stop at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Oct. 13. Tenille Townes and Travis Denning will serve as alternating opening acts, according to Goldenvoice.

Tickets opened to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday via

In a statement, Goldenvoice said, “This is the first new show announcement for Santa Barbara Bowl’s 2021 concert season.”

In an announcement Wednesday, the Santa Barbara Bowl said it “will host events when such regulations allow us to operate at full capacity. Events are subject to reschedule or cancellation in conformance with any health mandate in effect on the performance date or for operational needs to safely comply with public health order.”

» No live, in-person events are scheduled for the public at Santa Barbara City College so far, said Sally Gill, marketing communications specialist at SBCC.

“As for the future, the next opportunity may be the summer, but nothing has been finalized,” Gill said in an email. 

The Theatre Group at SBCC is performing “The Thin Man” as a live radio play, streaming online now through May 8. General tickets are $15, $10 for seniors, and $5 for SBCC staff and students. Click here for more information

» The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, 955 La Paz Road in Santa Barbara, is open for viewings by appointment. Contact the museum by calling 805.565.6162. Click here for more information

The theater and music performances at Westmont will continue to be livestreamed and pre-recorded video, according to Scott Craig, Westmont College’s media relations manager.

» UCSB doesn’t have any upcoming live, in-person events for the public at this time, according to UCSB spokeswoman Andrea Estrada. Everything is still being held virtually, she said. 

The UCSB Arts & Lectures series “Creating Hope” will feature a talk by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on May 18. The virtual event is free of charge, and no advance registration is required. Click here for more information

No decision has been made about whether UCSB Arts & Lectures is planning to host upcoming live, in-person events, said Sarah Duenas, public relations and marketing consultant for WaveComm SB.

UCSB Arts & Lectures has been hosting virtual events and will offer a free screening of “We Are the Dream” at 8:30 p.m. June 3 at the West Wind Drive-In movie theater, 907 S. Kellogg Ave. in Goleta. Parking spaces will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates about live performances and ticketed events planned this year. 

If you are hosting an upcoming happening for the public, let us know your plans at

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.