City Repairing Alhecama Theater

Spending Half a Million on Ensemble Troupe’s Home

Even without a long term lease secured for the Ensemble Theater, the Santa Barbara City Council authorized a half-million-dollar grant to the Ensemble’s landlord, the Trust for Historical Preservation, to begin fixing up the electrical system and making other repairs at the Alhecama Theater, the Ensemble’s habitual venue. Initially, City Hall envisioned a $1.5 million grant to the Trust, but that was to secure a long-term home for the Ensemble Theater, Santa Barbara’s oldest theater troupe. Negotiations between the Ensemble and its landlord, however, have yielded no such deal. Likewise, Ensemble’s explorations into the possibility of moving out of the Alhecama and into the Victoria Street Theater have not proved fruitful. Even without a contract, both the Trust and the Ensemble urged the City Council to approve the grant so that needed repairs can go forward. The money will come not from the city’s general fund-the subject of considerable budgetary concern- but from the Redevelopment Agency, whose funds must either be spent on affordable housing or urban revitalization.

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