Relighting the Marquee
You are sitting up front in the ornate Granada Theatre. It has been too long since you have had an experience like this.
The motionless curtain tantalizes. Impatient for its revelations, you look around and up to the balcony: so many people (1,500) sharing the same exhilaration. You feel a richness coming back to life. Then–the curtain rises.
For Hayley Firestone Jessup, the Granada’s vice president of advancement, that moment, when it comes, will be “relief, huge emotional relief.”
“It will be the lights, the sounds, the visuals, the excitement,” Firestone Jessup says breathlessly. “The beauty of live artists again. The color of the stage. The sound of the musicians.”
For Firestone Jessup and her colleagues, who have seen the theater’s staff drop from 35 to 10, the long months of the pandemic have made it all too apparent “that without music, theatre, and dance one’s life becomes incredibly flat.”
The theater itself is a beacon of culture for not only Santa Barbara, but the entire state and country. Following a top-to-bottom seismic upgrade and architectural restoration in 2008, the Granada was reborn as the downtown home for eight resident companies including the Opera Santa Barbara, The Santa Barbara Symphony, and State Street Ballet.
To accommodate the varied performances showcased in the now 96-year-old venue required intensive alterations to what had most recently been a multiplex cinema. This included enlarging the stage for the opera, making the floor flexible for dancers, enhancing acoustics for the symphony, and widening the proscenium arch for Broadway tours.
The result is a venue where Yo-Yo Ma, the Peking Acrobats, and the Beach Boys all find the amenities and high quality that bring them back time and time again.
Beyond the performances within the theater, the Granada provides Santa Barbara and the region with so much more. Tourists take selfies by the entrance of Santa Barbara’s highest “skyscraper” – the city’s icon of the performing arts and the cultural vibrancy to be found on this particular stretch of California’s coast.
“The Granada adds a dimension to the community life of Santa Barbara just by its presence, just by the lights on the marquee,” Firestone Jessup says. “While we have taken an intermission, we will be back!”
Vice President for Advancement: Jill Seltzer
The Granada Theatre — owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts — serves Santa Barbara by providing a vibrant, state-of-the-art venue where world-class artistic performances are available to the widest possible audience, promoting appreciation for the performing arts and enhancing the quality of life in our community.
Begin to Build a Relationship
We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.
We’re grateful to be a resident company of the beautiful Granada Theatre. Our community is so lucky to have a venue that can house full-scale ballets, operas, and musical theatre. It speaks to the incredible hunger for artistic excellence in Santa Barbara. I hope we can all continue to support this historic theatre, and bring the very best to our audiences for generations to come.
The Granada Theatre:
Keeping the Performing Arts Flourishing for all of Santa Barbara
A gift to the Granada Theatre not only supports this home for the performing arts in a time when it’s crucial to empower this sometimes increasingly endangered cornerstone of our culture, but also because the Granada Theatre supports and subsidizes eight different companies from disciplines that cover the entire spectrum of the performing arts: CAMA (Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara), the American Theater Guild, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, Opera Santa Barbara, State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Music Academy, and UCSB Arts & Lectures.
A donation to The Granada Theatre celebrates the hundred years that the theater has presented and supported the performing arts for all of Santa Barbara and helps to ensure that it will be around for another 100 years for future audiences to enjoy as well.
Board of Directors
Palmer Jackson, Jr., Chairman
F. Robert Miller III, Vice Chairman
Dan Burnham, Immediate Past Chairman
Merryl Snow Zegar, Secretary
Roberta Griffin, Treasurer
Sarah Schlinger Chrisman, At Large
Yvette Birch Giller, At Large
Charles C. Gray