Santa Barbara’s oldest and grandest theater is scheduled for a makeover! Encore: Lobero, a program created by Lobero Theatre Foundation, is beginning its final-push campaign to raise money for major renovations and preservation for The Lobero Theatre. After raising $1.2 million from board members alone, Encore: Lobero is now embarking on the public phase of the campaign, asking community members to become involved.
Today also marks the 140th anniversary of The Lobero.
Lobero Theatre, Courtesy of the Lobero
The Lobero first opened in 1873, making it the longest running theater in California. In 1922, a first round of renovations began and Guiseppe Lobero, the founder, said, “Everyone was approached for a contribution, and everyone gave.”
Currently, the Encore campaign has raised just over $5.1 million dollars, a little short of their $6.25 million fundraising goal. Encore: Lobero accepts donations of any size—contributors can name a seat for $2,500, buy a raffle ticket to win a number of prizes during a May 2 drawing or choose to attach their name to a piece or area of the building for $50,000.
“We encourage everyone to give a piece, whatever they can give,” director of development Jim Dougherty says. “The Lobero is important in so many ways to historical Santa Barbara.”
Some of the new renovations include expanding the women’s restroom, downsizing the number of seats from 680 to 600 to create more leg room, improving air circulation and providing better access for the handicapped. Even the main entrance is scheduled for a redesign to accommodate wheelchairs.
Lobero workers, courtesy of Lobero Theatre
“George Washington Smith, the original architect, designed steps that would be much more comfortable and welcoming,” Dougherty says. “It’s called the Esplanade. It will look very different! After people see it, they’ll find it much more comfortable, [allowing] us to provide much better service.”
With this campaign, Encore: Lobero hopes to rejuvenate the theater and ensure its vibrancy for the next 140 years. The theater’s completion is scheduled for this fall.
For more information, call Dougherty at 805/966-4946 ext. 605. Click here to make an individual donation.
And Happy Birthday to the Lobero!