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History of Newhall Family Theatre of the Performing Arts

Updated: Jan 12

Built in 1925, the Newhall Grammar School had an auditorium that served as a gathering space for the growing community. Silent film cowboy and local resident William S. Hart used to show his movies in the theater to audiences of delighted children. But in 1939, a fire of mysterious origin brought down the house. With the support of the community, who collected donations, and the federal Works Progress Administration, the Newhall Auditorium was rebuilt in Art Deco style and reopened in 1941.

As the Santa Clarita Valley population grew, the demand for classroom space increased, and the need for more schools took precedence. 1975, the auditorium was converted into a warehouse, freeing up funds to build more schools. But in 1994, after the Northridge earthquake, the space was re-discovered. Work began anew to restore its former glory and give a new generation of students a chance to experience the performing arts in Newhall.

Theatre Arts for Children was formed to raise funds and restore the building. Still, the cost of removing hazardous material and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act caused the project total to exceed their budget.

In 2011, the Newhall School District’s Governing Board proposed a bond measure that would raise funds for the restoration and renovation of the district. The measure passed, along with many other improvements to district schools, and funding was also provided for the restoration of the Newhall Auditorium.

The official groundbreaking ceremony was held in March 2016, and work began in earnest. The restoration was done holding fast to the WPA’s Art Deco motif. The theater, which maintains the original proscenium, has been updated with state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment, more than 500 seats, and a projection screen. Christened the Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts, the auditorium opened in October 2017, with the first community organizations using the venue in March 2018.

The Newhall Family Theatre has been host to six Newhall School District schools for their annual variety shows, the annual culmination art show for the Newhall School District and all ten of their schools, class performances for Newhall Elementary School, and hosting Newhall Elementary's student achievement and promotion ceremonies. The Newhall Family Theatre has also been the performance venue for 25 local organizations hosting various performances, from live theatre to film screenings to stand-up comedy to chamber music, dance recitals, and country music.

Since reopening its doors in 2018, the Newhall Family Theatre has continued to grow and strive to be one of the leading performing arts destinations in all of Santa Clarita.

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