The 70-year-old Santa Barbara Bowl is taking a cue from wealthy Montecito women, as the prominent venue goes under the knife for an $8 million facelift.
Construction will begin this month on a new three-walled proscenium – a stage that will be known as “the pavilion” – as part of the estimated $22 million Renovation and Restoration Master Plan of the Bowl. The project follows the first phase of reconstruction, which began in 2002 and included a larger backstage area, more accessible bathrooms and an expanded food court.
Paul Dore, president of the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation board of directors, said the improvements to the stage will hopefully draw more popular performers and improve the audience’s experience.
“We certainly hope that we will be able to attract bigger acts to the bowl,” Dore said. “The other reason that we are building this is to be able to present more opera and classical concerts, mitigate neighborhood sound impact and be able to present the full light and video aspects of every concert.”
In the past, performers have had to reduce the size of their act and eliminate special effects because the bowl’s current stage is too small, Dore said. According to a press release, the new stage, which will be covered, will hold 30 percent more weight, allowing artists to bring more lighting, props, sets and video walls for their shows.
“The final result will be better experiences for every patron attending a concert at the Bowl,” Dore said.
Ticket prices will not be affected by renovations, Dore said, since the costs will remain in control of the performer.
Dore said the redesign should not affect the 2007 concert season, and the structural components of the pavilion will be completed in time for its reopening in June. During the 2008 off-season, workers will finish cosmetic work and, according to the foundation’s website, the entire pavilion will be complete by June 2008.
According to Beth Dolinsek, capital campaign administrator, funding for the redesign comes from local individuals, foundations and corporations. Currently, 92 donors are helping to finance the new construction, contributing about $9.9 million so far. Dolinsek said $8.2 million will go toward the construction of the pavilion.
Stephanie Turner, a third-year music major, said she looks forward to the bowl’s makeover.
“The facilities seemed fine overall, but from a performer’s point of view I could see why they may need renovations,” Turner said.
According to its website, the Santa Barbara Bowl was built in 1936 with funding from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration, and is one of the last remaining projects from that era.