ETC Reopens Its Doors

By Giving List Staff   |   October 28, 2021

Eight years ago, when the Victoria Hall Theater underwent a $12.6 million renovation that transformed the historic venue into The New Vic, the project was a marvel of volunteer collaboration. Nearly every person involved in the renovation undertaken by Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) was an unpaid supporter, from the board of directors to the fundraising committee to the legal department. 

“This is an example of how volunteers can come together to achieve something that really changes the community,” says Derek Westen, an ETC board member.

The result was a magnificent 300-seat theater that remains the envy of cities up and down the West Coast: a space with a rare combination of energy and intimacy that stages world-class theatrical productions. 

The New Vic has elevated ETC into a nationally recognized theater company and increased Santa Barbara’s stature as a destination for the performing arts. The theater has also been a hub for nonprofits, who rent it out for events at affordable rates in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Since its reopening in 2013, The New Vic has hosted more than 150 nonprofit organizations spanning the social spectrum, from health and environment to education and the performing arts. “We are really elated how the building has worked for us and how it has worked for Santa Barbara,” Westen says.

Following 18 months of closure due to the pandemic, The New Vic reopened its doors in 2021 and the Santa Barbara community has regained a remarkable calendar of theater productions that includes Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical, the fresh-from-Broadway play American Son, and Carmen Jones, Oscar Hammerstein’s musical adaption of the beloved opera. 


Ensemble Theatre Company

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Matching Challenge

Through December 31, 2022, the first $5,000 donated will be matched thanks to a generous challenge grant from the Zegar Family Foundation.

Theater Lives On

ETC depends on gifts from the community all year long to help subsidize ticket prices, fund education outreach programs, and support artistic freedom. Your tax-deductible donation makes a tremendous impact on the theater. Even in “normal” times, ticket sales accounted for only 40% of what it takes to create our productions. In these times, donations are key to ensuring live theater will live on in Santa Barbara. And, ETC has received a “four star charity” rating from Charity Navigator, so you can donate with confidence in your investment.


Ensemble Theatre Company presents important new plays and innovative interpretations of classic works for a broad audience. ETC engages audiences with entertaining, compelling, and thought-provoking theatrical productions, develops the community’s knowledge and appreciation of live stage productions, and offers a range of educational programs for young people.
(805) 965-5400
President: Simon Williams

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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.

Santa Barbara is a town known for its love of the arts – museums, music organizations, dance companies, and theater. Among all the stellar arts organizations in Santa Barbara which deserve our support, I am proud to invest in the groundbreaking theater produced by Ensemble Theatre Company at The New Vic.
Dana White

Nonprofits That Use The New Vic

Adventures in Caring
American Irish Historical Society
Davey’s Voice/Animal Film Festival
Environmental Defense Center
Heal the Ocean Santa Barbara
Help One Walk
Human Rights Watch
Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara
Las Cumbres Observatory
Los Padres Forest Watch
Planned Parenthood
Project Save our Surf
Sansum Clinic
Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table
Santa Barbara Audubon Society
Santa Barbara California Association
of Marriage and Family Therapists
Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture
Santa Barbara Education Foundation
Santa Barbara Rotary Club
Westmont – Theatre Department
Women’s Economic Ventures
Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara

Board of Directors

Simon Williams, President
Gwen Baker, Vice President
Owen Patotzka, Treasurer
Deb Pontifex, Secretary
Meredith Baxter
Paula Y. Bruice
Ginny Brush
Chris Carter
Susan Case
Michael Gray
George Konstantinow
Paul Longanbach
Doug Norberg
Lisa Reich
Sybil Rosen
Ken Rotman
Chuck Sheldon
Robert Turbin
Susan van Abel
Kathy Weber
Derek A. Westen
Dana White
Parm Williams