Ensemble Theatre Company Joins League of Resident Theatres | Arts & Entertainment

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The 45 year-old Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara (ETC) has been accepted as the 81st member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest professional theater association in the United States.

ETC, Santa Barbara’s only professional theater company, joins the seven other southern California LORT theater companies: Geffen Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Laguna Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, and The Old Globe.

“Being recognized as a member of the League of Resident Theatres marks a major milestone in ETC’s evolution and signals that we are building a reputation as a premier regional theatre company,” said Scott DeVine, ETC’s executive director.

“Our position among America’s leading theater companies means that ETC is producing high-quality theatrical experiences, be it new work or innovative renditions of classic plays, and is something our diverse community can take pride in,” he said.

“This recognition also reinforces the quality contributions ETC is making to Santa Barbara’s cultural hub, which offers experiences for both artists and audiences that rival any community in the country,” DeVine said.

Becoming a member of LORT signifies an organization has reached the highest levels of artistic and administrative excellence. Acceptance into LORT requires an intensive months-long process and approval from the LORT Board of Directors and the major professional theatrical unions Actors’ Equity Association, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and United Scenic Artists.
 
“LORT is the largest national association of not-for-profit theaters in the country, and our membership has grown significantly in recent years as more and more theaters see the value in being connected,” said Adam Siegel, president of LORT and managing director at Lincoln Center Theater.

“Scott DeVine is one of the best leaders in the field, and the mission and accomplishments of ETC align with our shared goals,” he said. “We are thrilled to welcome ETC to the association.”
 
ETC is Santa Barbara’s sole professional equity theater company. Producing five plays per season, it has been home to several World, American and West Coast premieres and has received recognition and accolades throughout its enduring history.

In its inception in 1978, ETC was the Ensemble Theatre Project and called Trinity Episcopal Church its home. As its popularity grew, ETC moved to the historic 140-seat Alhecama Theatre, a more traditional theatrical setting that hosted its productions for a quarter of a century and still provides rehearsal space today.

ETC then undertook the $12.6 million purchase and renovation of the Victoria Hall Theater, leading to the 300-seat New Vic Theatre that serves as its resident stage and hosts other artists representing dance, music, film and lectures.

ETC’s success has been built upon its stability, with only four executive leaders: Joseph Hanreddy (1978-85), Robert Grande Weiss (1985-2006), Jonathon Fox (2006-23) and DeVine (2023- ).

The company also benefited from the contributions made by Jill Seltzer (2016-21), who served as managing director, a role DeVine assumed when joining in 2022.

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