The Granada Theatre

By Steven Libowitz   |   August 10, 2023

There’s no doubt that the Granada Theatre is one of the crown jewels in Santa Barbara’s enviable and outsized arts scene, one that after undergoing a mega-millions upgrade has become home to nearly all of the South County’s major presenting arts organizations. What’s more, the nonprofit continues to upgrade on a regular basis, most recently with the transition to a state-of-the-art sound system that makes every seat the best acoustic one in the house.

All that takes a lot of ongoing support, of course. And there are lots of ways to get involved, including the upcoming seventh annual Granada Theatre Legends Gala on September 16, one of the area’s most highly anticipated evenings that brings together inspiring honorees from both cultural institutions and individual artists with noted philanthropists on the Granada’s glorious stage in a single evening in one place to support Santa Barbara’s performing arts community. This year, it’s Ensemble Theatre Company, Fannie Flagg, and Brooks & Kate Firestone on the marquee.

But November brings a new event to the Granada fundraising fold, one with an emphasis on fun, and where black tie is definitely not the dress code. The first-ever show in the Granada’s new Synergy Series on November 11 in a concert that stars the Doublewide Kings, Santa Barbara’s popular home-grown classic rock band, with a 40-member strong contingent of the Santa Barbara Symphony, one of the theater’s resident companies. They’re joining forces to celebrate the music of Van Morrison, with the Kings and the symphony led by Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti, offering a unique interpretation of Morrison’s platinum catalog of timeless hits.

Granada Chairman Palmer Jackson, Jr., is understandably excited about the upcoming event, not in the least because he’s the guitarist and co-lead singer of the Doublewide Kings, as well as a member of the board of Santa Barbara Symphony, although it took a little coaxing from Kabaretti to concur on the collaboration.

“We do a bunch of Van Morrison’s songs in our shows, and so many of his songs either have horns or strings on them,” he said. “It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Kings have hired an arranger to create charts for the symphony for the concert as well as coach the band through fronting an orchestra. 

“The symphony doesn’t need his help, because they do this all the time, as just about all of the members are regular session players on soundtracks and scores,” Jackson said. “They’ll be ready to go. The pressure is on us.
But we’re super excited.” 

Tickets to the concert run $31 to $156, but the event is also a fundraiser for the Granada. Sponsorship packages range from $1,000 to $10,000 and include an increasing number of premium VIP seats, early access to the show including soundcheck, as well as a post-concert meet and greet with the Doublewide Kings and the Symphony musicians. Sponsors also receive recognition in all of the promotions and programs and in theater mentions. 

The concert that will feature such Van the Man hits as “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Moondance,” “Domino,” “Wild Night,” and “Tupelo Honey” also represents the first event produced by the Granada itself – rather than merely serving as a rental venue – since well before the pandemic. Credit: Justin Kase Conder Copyright: © 2016 Justin Kase Conder Usage with express permission only.

“We learned a lot of lessons and now that everything’s back to full force, we’re wanting to start doing more,” Palmer said. 

The Granada is also relaunching the Roar & Pour series that began during the Covid closures, bringing local bands to the sidewalk in front of the theater to play late afternoon concerts for free. The way to keep sound guys and music makers busy was so popular the theater is sponsoring a four-week series in August as a community service during the lull between the Music Academy concerts and the fall arts season.

That gets going at the Granada at the end of September, when Opera Santa Barbara, another of the Granada’s resident companies, reprises Carmen, the world’s most beloved opera, for the first time since 2016, spilling over into a second show in October. Then comes the onslaught of top flight touring productions presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures, with four dates offering illustrious representative of dance (Martha Graham Dance Company, New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck), progressive bluegrass (Nickel Creek), and chamber music (Thibaudet-Batiashvili-Capucon trio).

The Santa Barbara Symphony kicks off its own 2023-2024 season in October teaming up with several of the city’s other musician ensembles, including the Santa Barbara Choral Society, Quire of Voyces, Westmont College Choir, and members of the Santa Barbara Gay Men’s Chorus, in a program anchored by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  A week later, State Street Ballet, yet another longtime Granada partner, launches its new season with Giselle, also accompanied by the Santa Barbara Symphony.

Palmer said that supporting the Granada also supports all of its partner organizations.

“A gift to the Granada essentially goes to the performing arts in Santa Barbara because we subsidize the symphony, we subsidize the opera, we subsidize all of our resident companies,” he said.  

The Granada Theatre
1214 State St.
Palmer Jackson, Jr. – Chairman
Jill Seltzer – VP for Advancement

(805) 899-3000 


The Granada Theatre

Donate now!
(805) 899-3000
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 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.
Megan Philipp, State Street Ballet Artistic Director

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
Tariqh Akoni
Leslie Bains
Brooks Firestone
Rick Fogg
Janet Garufis
Charles C. Gray
Jamie Maguire
Stephanie Nicks
Maria Schmidt