The Powerhouse : THE NEW VIC AND ITS NEW SEASON REDEFINES SANTA BARBARA THEATER

The exterior of the New Victoria Theatre

The exterior of the New Victoria Theatre

A pool and a splash zone for an upcoming Ensemble Theatre show? Who would have thought? But in the beautiful new space for one of Santa Barbara’s oldest theater companies, anything is possible. Called The New Vic, the $11.5 million remodel of the building on the corner of Victoria and Chapala Streets opened this month, a mixture of state-of-the-art theater construction and a devotion to preserving this former church and its 92-year-old original structure.

When the mayor cut the ribbon at the opening several Fridays ago, it celebrated the end of a construction process that had its high and low points, as well as a new chapter in Santa Barbara’s performing arts district. Mayor Helene Schneider called it the “jewel in the crown” and with its refurbished, stained glass windows glowing during a performance, the comparison is apt.

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