Santa Monica College is adding a $12.3 million building adjacent to the Broad Stage that will house a 165-seat music hall and practice space for students. (photo by Smc)

SANTA MONICA BLVD — Santa Monica College’s Performing Arts Center is planning an encore.

Officials with the college on Wednesday said they have hired an architect and will break ground next year on a $12.3 million building to be located adjacent to the Broad Stage that will house a 165-seat music hall as well as rehearsal space and storage.

The East Wing Expansion Building, funded through a bond measure approved by voters in November 2008, comes at a time when officials with the Performing Arts Center, located at Santa Monica Boulevard and 11th Street, are looking to expand their programming and compete with other cultural institutions in the region during the fifth anniversary season of the Broad Stage, which kicks off Sept. 1 with Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza.

As part of those plans, officials also announced a new collaboration with the Los Angeles Opera and its General Director Plácido Domingo that will bring intimately scaled productions to venues away from the company’s home at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

“With resources at a premium, we believe the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center is a powerful investment that will pay dividends for generations to come,” SMC President Dr. Chui Tsang said. “We strongly believe in the future of our students, our arts education, and the shared cultural life of our community by helping make that future possible.”

The East Wing, which is expected to be renamed later once officials find a donor, will join the Broad Stage, with 499 seats, and the smaller Edye Second Space, a black box theatre with 99 seats. Those theatres are named after billionaire Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, who gave $10 million to create an endowment for programming and arts education. The theaters opened in 2008 and are owned by the community college.

Dale Franzen, director of the Broad Stage, said the new two-story building will provide more room for rehearsals and classes currently held at the Broad and the Edye, freeing up space for more performances. The new building also has the potential to host its own performances and will be designed so that it opens up to a courtyard to accommodate as many as 350 people.

The building is expected to play a central role in Franzen’s vision for the next five years.

“What’s most exciting about this third space is that it will help us expand the scope of our programming and the Broad Stage reputation as a unique cultural landmark that is beautiful, intimate and state-of-the-art,” Franzen said. “It is also center to our vision … to establish the Broad Stage … as the West Coast home for relevant, vanguard work created in London, Latin America, New York, Edinburgh and other cultural hot spots around the globe, including our very own artistic capital of Los Angeles.

“We set out to become the place where our community could experience the world up the street,” she added. “Our reach is international, but our heartbeat is local.”

The East Wing is designed by the architectural firm DLR Group WWCOT and features a modernist design that incorporates plenty of natural light through the use of glass. In many ways it mirrors the Broad, using finished wood, steel and glass. The design has been submitted for state review and provides for more than 19,000 square feet of space. An eastern portion of the Madison Building will be demolished to make way for the East Wing.

As part of its planned expansion, the Broad is also exploring adding additional parking facilities. The existing lot, which is free to visitors, is often full during evening performances.

Highlights of the fifth season at the Broad and Second Space include world premieres from some of the best companies in dance, theatre, and music from around the world, including partnerships with London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, the L.A. Opera, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Westside Jazz Experience and a return of family programs.

For more information on the upcoming season, visit www.TheBroadStage.com.


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