Evangeline Gardiner

Evangeline Gardiner

Published: 16 Sep 2023

Source: Lobero.org

The Lobero Theatre, located in the heart of Santa Barbara, California, is a historic landmark known for its rich history and remarkable performances. With its stunning Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and intimate atmosphere, the Lobero Theatre attracts visitors from all over the world. However, there is more to this iconic venue than meets the eye. In this article, we will explore nine extraordinary facts about the Lobero Theatre that will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation for this cultural gem. From its origins as a small community theater to hosting world-renowned artists, the Lobero Theatre has played a significant role in shaping the performing arts scene in Santa Barbara and beyond. Let’s dive in and discover the hidden secrets and fascinating anecdotes that make the Lobero Theatre truly exceptional.

Table of Contents

The Oldest Continuously Operating Theatre in California

Did you know that Lobero Theatre holds the prestigious title of being the oldest continuously operating theatre in California? Since its opening in 1873, it has played a significant role in the cultural landscape of Santa Barbara. This historic landmark has stood the test of time, showcasing a wide range of performances, from music concerts and dance recitals to theatrical productions and film screenings.

An Architectural Gem

One of the most remarkable facts about Lobero Theatre is its architectural beauty. Designed by the renowned architect William Potter, this Spanish Colonial Revival-style building exudes elegance and charm. Its stunning facade features intricate details, including decorative tiles and ornate ironwork, making it a sight to behold.

A Stage Where Legends Performed

Throughout its long history, Lobero Theatre has hosted numerous legendary performers. From the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin to modern-day icons like Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma, this venue has served as a platform for some of the world’s most celebrated artists.

Intimate Setting for Unforgettable Performances

One of the unique characteristics of Lobero Theatre is its intimate setting. With a seating capacity of just under 700, audiences can experience performances up close and personal. This close proximity between the artists and the audience creates an immersive experience that is hard to replicate in larger venues.

A Magnet for Cultural Events

Lobero Theatre has become a magnet for cultural events in the Santa Barbara community. From jazz festivals and classical concerts to film screenings and educational programs, this venue offers a diverse range of events that cater to all tastes and interests.

A Renowned Acoustic Haven

The acoustic quality of Lobero Theatre is legendary. Musicians and performers from around the world praise the venue for its exceptional sound, making it a popular choice for live recordings and performances. The theater’s unique architecture and design contribute to its outstanding acoustics.

A Hub for Community Engagement

Lobero Theatre goes beyond being just a performance venue. It has become a hub for community engagement and artistic development. The theater actively supports local artists and organizations, providing a platform for them to showcase their talent and contribute to the cultural fabric of the region.

Preserving the Legacy Through Restoration

Over the years, Lobero Theatre has undergone various restoration projects to preserve its historical significance. These efforts ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the charm and grandeur of this iconic landmark. From refurbishing the seating to maintaining the architectural integrity, the restoration work ensures that the theater remains a beloved institution.

A Living Piece of Santa Barbara’s History

Lobero Theatre is more than just a venue; it is a living piece of Santa Barbara’s history. With its rich heritage and commitment to the arts, it continues to be a vital cultural destination for locals and visitors alike. The theater stands as a testament to the power of performing arts in shaping and enriching a community.


In conclusion, the Lobero Theatre is an extraordinary landmark that has stood the test of time. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural significance, it continues to captivate visitors from near and far. From its beginnings as a community gathering place to its current status as a premier performing arts venue, this landmark has played a vital role in shaping the arts and culture scene in Santa Barbara. Whether you’re a theater enthusiast or simply curious about local landmarks, a visit to the Lobero Theatre is sure to leave you in awe of its beauty and significance.


1. When was the Lobero Theatre built?

The Lobero Theatre was built in 1873 and is one of the oldest theaters in California.

2. Is the Lobero Theatre still in operation?

Yes, the Lobero Theatre is still in operation and hosts a wide range of performances, including theater productions, concerts, and dance recitals.

3. What is the seating capacity of the Lobero Theatre?

The Lobero Theatre has a seating capacity of approximately 600, providing an intimate setting for performances.

4. Are there any famous performances that have taken place at the Lobero Theatre?

Yes, the Lobero Theatre has hosted numerous famous performers, including legendary musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Dave Brubeck.

5. Can I take a tour of the Lobero Theatre?

While the Lobero Theatre does not offer regular tours, visitors can attend performances and explore the stunning architecture and history of the landmark.

6. Is there parking available near the Lobero Theatre?

Yes, there is parking available near the Lobero Theatre, including public parking lots and street parking. However, it is recommended to check for parking availability before your visit.

7. Is the Lobero Theatre wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Lobero Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and designated seating for individuals with disabilities.

8. Can I buy tickets for performances at the Lobero Theatre online?

Yes, you can purchase tickets for performances at the Lobero Theatre online through their official website or through authorized ticket vendors.

9. Does the Lobero Theatre offer concessions during performances?

Yes, the Lobero Theatre has a concessions stand where you can purchase snacks and beverages before or during performances.