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Celebrating the Grand Opening of the New Lobero Theatre, August 4, 1924

In every issue of BACKSTAGE at the Lobero, Jim Dougherty regularly updates friends and fans about the Lobero Theatre’s Heritage campaign. In this letter, Jim discusses theater’s grand opening, and how to become a part of this great history.

The Heritage Campaign is our community’s way to ensure the dream is truly captured and will always remain for future generations to enjoy.

Learn more about the Heritage Campaign

In 1924, Miss Sarah Redington reviewed the opening of the New Lobero Theatre designed by George Washingon Smith and Lutah Maria Riggs and spoke for the whole town, no doubt, when she said, “The building is a captured dream.”

She continued describing the opening event, an original play entitled Beggar on Horseback, “It is a delicious bit of self-expression. It is a study in Americanism, a sermon. It is a triumphant bit of fun-making. And above all, it is a dream.”

The new Lobero Theatre was the work of the Community Arts Association. When they went to the community, everyone was approached for a contribution and everyone gave what they could. Only two persons gave over $1,000 dollars. It was indeed a community effort raising $180,000 for the building of our current Lobero Theatre.

As one of the committee members said, “We are proud of the new Lobero and Santa Barbara should be proud of it too. The city now has one of the finest community playhouses in the country and its completion is an achievement made possible only through the cooperation and help of all kinds. It is truly a community center and this fact must be kept uppermost if the institution’s real ideals are to be carried out.”

The Lobero continues to stand as that community center first envisioned by founder Jose Lobero. Although the theater is a reality, the continued dream is the force that gives life to what awaits us tomorrow.

Our doors may be closed, but our hearts and minds are very much open, and we want to stay connected and hopeful with you.

While we wait in the wings for things to return to normal, we hope you enjoy a semi-regular peek into the Lobero archives with our Intermission series, presented by Earl Minnis. We hope you’re staying safe and enjoying the arts from the comfort of your own home.