The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles celebrated the groundbreaking of its new home improvement project on Saturday, May 25, which will transform the destination for Shakespeare in L.A., featuring world-class productions, Shakespeare and social justice programming for teachers, arts education, and employment for youth and veterans.

The first phase of construction is slated to be complete in mid-2025 and the architecture firm SPF:a was tapped to lead the design. The renovation will include a state-of-the-art, 299-seat live performing arts and community center, a 22,000-square-foot multimedia rental studio supporting broadcast, streaming, recording, and traditional sound stage activity, and a cultural community center dedicated to theatrical productions. There will be room for high-quality arts enrichment for students and teachers, work-readiness training for youth, and on-the-job training and transitional employment for veterans and the chronically unemployed. 

Instead of building from the ground up, the original 1964 warehouse will be transformed into a two-story, 16,200-square-foot, state-of-the-art public theater. Upgrades will include retractable seating, a stage trap, classrooms, workshops, and other supportive, flexible spaces for administrative operations. Structural changes include raising the current roof by 20 feet and creating a stage pit. The new theater will also feature a green roof to absorb sunlight and improve insulation, along with a rainwater collection system for irrigation.


SCLA interior rendering (Courtesy SPF:a)

To date, SCLA has secured $15 million for the renovation through the sale of U.S. Department of the Treasury New Market Tax Credits, a contribution of California Arts Council funds arranged by California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo; a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration; and a lead gift from The Ahmanson Foundation that put the project in motion. 

The theater has been home to Al Pacino live on stage and SCLA’s 2018 production of Henry IV featuring Tom Hanks was built entirely by veterans in the Veterans in Art program.

“The large grant from the California Arts Council and the New Market Tax Credits award reflects the theater’s longstanding commitment to creating economic and educational opportunities in underserved communities,” California State Sen. Durazo told the crowd.  “Besides SCLA’s world-class mainstage productions of Shakespeare and other classics, the center’s arts education and workforce programs help break the cycle of disinvestment in historically low-income communities.”
























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