It’s just a couple weeks before October 2021 and Opera Santa Barbara is preparing to take the stage for its season kick-off, the Mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. It’s an emotional moment. The 1,500-seat Granada Theatre has endured the past 18 months mostly shuttered with only a few cautious exceptions, but now the expansive venue is set to roar back to life healthier than ever. Granada Executive Chairman of the Board Palmer Jackson Jr. is visibly excited about the return, but he’s thinking about another event: a small outdoor concert series that kept Granada audiences delighted even when the auditorium was dark.
He is referring to “Roar & Pour,” a live music fest hosted Thursday nights on State Street in front of The Granada Theatre, in collaboration with Opera Santa Barbara and the craft cocktail bar The Good Lion.
When most of State Street’s venues remained closed, Roar & Pour was a beating heart of downtown Santa Barbara’s music scene, hosting up to 300 people enjoying music, food, and craft cocktails.
“This was really a case of making lemonade out of lemons,” Jackson says. “Roar & Pour became a local institution and we were really proud to support the musician community in Santa Barbara while we could.”
Roar & Pour has grown to be a potential new summer tradition for The Granada. But with fall, the organization turns its attention to welcoming audiences back for onstage performances, having taken advantage of the off-time to improve the century-old building and the surrounding neighborhood. That includes a $2 million downtown beautification called Plaza Granada, a collaboration among local business owners, city officials, arts patrons, and residents to renovate the neighborhood with landscaping, well-lit pedestrian passes, improved parking, and a competitively commissioned mural.
The Granada Theatre has undergone multiple facelifts in the last couple of decades to ensure that the facility continues to be on par with the caliber of performers who grace its stage. Ensuring the theater is in its best shape is a point of pride for the organization as it welcomes audiences and artists back.
“For many years, our resident companies have brought great artists from the entire world to The Granada,” says longtime Development Services Manager Kathy Kramer. “We host the pantheon – Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman – and they come back to The Granada year after year with pleasure because the facility has been so good to them.”
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.
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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