NSD preps for opening of Newhall Family Theater

Christy Smith, chairperson of the capital campaign for the renovation of the Newhall Auditorium, holds an artist's rendering of the completed auditorium as she stands in front of the auditorium in Newhall in 2014. Dan Watson/Signal

In two months the Newhall School District (NSD) will unveil its $4.8 million renovation project and welcome students and community members into the Newhall Family Theater for Performing Arts.

Situated adjacent to Newhall Elementary School, the theater is designed to act as both a district theater and community theater for the city’s youth.  It will also be a space for Newhall Elementary to focus on furthering the school’s arts integration concentration.

“It will be for Newhall Elementary School and all the schools in the district to use as a performance space, and also for the community at large,” NSD Superintendent Paul Cordeiro said.  “The theater will focus on youth entertainment and youth performance that will draw people from all over the community.”

The interior of the Newhall Auditorium in 2014.

Plans to create the district’s dedicated performance theater began several years ago after Santa Clarita voters approved Measure E funds in 2011.

“The voters approved this and taxpayer money is paying for this,” Cordeiro said.  “The add-ons to the theater show extraordinary support from the voters for the school district.”

First constructed in 1940, the concrete and steel building, formerly named the Newhall Auditorium, was unused space in the district, mainly acting as a warehouse.

To create a revamped performing venue, workers had to gut the entire building, leaving only the shell of the auditorium and key architectural elements, like the pressed letters on the entrance to the space, behind.

“With a building this old, usually everything is new,” Cordeiro said.

Once completed in April, the Newhall Family Theater for Performing Arts will seat 529 people and will include a courtyard, a concession area, bathrooms, dressing rooms, an extended stage and a tech booth, in addition to new lighting, floors, paint, heating and air conditioning and acoustic elements.

The exterior of the Newhall Auditorium in 2014. Dan Watson/Signal

Cordeiro said that despite all the renovations, the space will still maintain its original architectural elements.

“We have to adapt the building in many ways, but it’s going to look like the original,” he said.

Cordeiro hopes the performing venue will become a space that everyone in the community can use for youth performances, education, conferences and more.

“We will learn a lot about its use when it is opened to the public,” he said.  “This is a community asset that will be here for years and years.”

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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