Santa Barbara's Victoria Street Theatre (a.k.a. The New Vic Theatre) is home to and owned by the Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC). 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.
Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara began as the Ensemble Theatre Project in 1978 under the direction of Joseph Hanreddy. For the first three years, plays were performed at Trinity Episcopal Church. In 1981, ETC made the 140-seat Alhecama Theatre its home for more than 25 years. Beginning in 2009, ETC undertook a $12.6 million renovation of the Victoria Hall Theatre. It opened its new 300-seat home, the New Vic, in 2013. The New Vic has become a venue for dance, music, film, and lectures.
After Joseph Hanreddy left Santa Barbara in 1985, Robert Grande Weiss became Artistic Director, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. Jonathan Fox assumed the position of Executive Artistic Director in September 2006 and saw the company through great expansion. Jill Seltzer joined ETC as its Managing Director in 2016.
ETC, which became an Equity theatre in 1989, is Santa Barbara's sole professional theatre company. The company, which presents five or six plays per season, has produced several American and West Coast premieres, and has garnered numerous awards over the years.
Photos by Fritz Olenberger