Facility upgrade slated for completion in July 2022

Staff Report

During its regular meeting on Feb. 1, the Solvang Planning Commission unanimously approved the Development Plan for Solvang Festival Theater’s Capital Campaign Project. While making the motion to approve, Commissioner Scott Gold stated that the theater’s Development Plan was “an appropriate, pretty project for locals and tourists alike. (The theater) represents a lot of history and brings a lot of joy for a lot of people.” 

After nearly five decades of enjoyment, the theater requires a renewed investment from the community to sustain the legacy as a cultural and community anchor for decades to come. The current “IMAGINE! Building the Future” capital campaign has reached 61% of the $4.7 million goal. 

The theater’s renovation project, slated to begin construction this September and be completed in July 2022, will now go to the city’s Planning Department for review in March and will also be subject to review by the Design Review Committee before land use and building permits are issued. 

The project will strengthen and modernize the theater, address aging infrastructure, and improve accessibility, technical capability and audience amenities. It includes a complete replacement of the rear wall, increasing the height an additional 8 feet with cantilevered panels to help deflect wind, capture more warmth and buffer external noise. Acoustically engineered paneling on the new wall will also enhance internal sound for audience and performers. 

The current utility poles that support the lighting platforms, erected during the original construction in 1974, will be replaced with new steel lighting columns that will be safer for the audience and performers and will support an enhanced lighting system. 

Additionally, the project includes new ADA compliant stairwell access to the theater and to the box office for staff and patrons.
“This theater is a magnificent jewel,” says Chris Nielsen, Solvang Theaterfest Board chair, “and we want to provide a theater that our predecessors will be proud of and generations to follow will be equally as proud of as well.” 

For more information, please visit the theater’s website at www.solvangfestivaltheater.org