Granada Donors Go Behind the Scenes at Progressive Party

Valentine’s Day Love Your Theater Event is a Big Hit

Director of Operations David Johnson and Chrisman Executive Director/President Caren Rager

Gail Arnold

Director of Operations David Johnson and Chrisman Executive Director/President Caren Rager

On Valentine’s Day, The Granada Theatre hosted a very fun progressive party dubbed “Love Your Theater,” where donors got to explore the parts of the theater normally off limits: the stage, backstage, above stage, and below stage. Guests were greeted in each area by key Granada staff members who work behind the scenes to make the Granada’s world class productions happen. Of course, being a Granada event, there were also gourmet libations and entertainment at every turn. The event offered donors a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at this majestic theater 11 years after its restoration and reopening.

The 60 or so guests entered through the stage door, where Charles McClintock played the grand piano on a dimly lit stage, champagne flowed, and bourbon-glazed meatballs and other appetizers were offered. Stage Coordinator Kevin Witherall demonstrated the impressive 4K Digital Cinema System as well as the Spiralift platform lift, which moves the area in front of the stage among four levels to bring items up from storage and to meet various production needs, including having a full orchestra pit.

Audio Department Head Jon Fowler and Lighting Department Head DeAnn Nguyen each engaged one-on-one with donors, explaining the state-of-the-art audio and lighting systems.

Adventurous donors rode the elevator 30 feet up to the Gallery, where Stage Carpentry Department Head Jubal Molitor explained how the rigging system with 58 line sets is used to position scenery, lighting, draperies, and screens. Donors could also recline in an opera box for a fun photo op.

Below stage there was more to explore: In the Wardrobe Room, Wardrobe Department Head Lauda Swan shared her techniques for creating hats and affixing them to wigs with synthetic horse hair. In the Warm-Up Room, guests enjoyed flamenco guitar music by Chris Fossek and sushi appetizers. In the Women’s Chorus Dressing Room, donors got to chat with State Street Ballet Associate Director (and recently-retired star dancer) Leila Drake and inspect ballet costumes up close. Make-up rooms, dressing rooms, and more were all open to view.

Unlike many performing arts centers, the Granada does not receive ongoing financial support from local or state government. It covers only half its budget through ticket sales and earned income, making support from donors critical.

The Granada offers about 115 public performances each year by its eight resident companies: CAMA (Community Arts Music Association), Santa Barbara Choral Society, Music Academy of the West, Opera Santa Barbara, State Street Ballet, The Santa Barbara Symphony, American Theater Guild, and UCSB Arts & Lectures and by numerous other premier entities.

Donors receive a host of benefits, including invites to lovely gatherings like this. For a list of benefits, a list of performances, and other info about the Granada, go to

If viewing this from a mobile device, click on “Desktop Site” in top right for more pics. Send invites to