Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

    
1855 Main Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401     | map |  

(310) 458-8551 

Website: smgov.net/departments/ccs/civicauditorium

The city's website provides information on upcoming meetings regarding the future of the building.
A contact person is Jessica Cusick in the Department of Cultural Affairs at 310-458-8350.

Opened: 1958.  The Civic was the site of the 1961 - 1968 Academy Awards.

The main floor is on a hydraulic lift allowing the front of the auditorium to be brought up to stage level for use of the entire space as a 16,200 s.f. flat floored exhibition hall.

The stage is 39' deep x 115' wide. Grid height is 70'.  The proscenium is 31' high x 65' wide.

Architect:  Welton Becket. Becket designed many other Los Angeles buildings including Capitol Records and the Cinerama Dome.

Seating:  3,000 in concert format

Status:   Endangered. The City of Santa Monica wanted to tear it down instead of giving it an expensive upgrade. In recent years it has been underutilized.  It closed June 30, 2013 and its future is being debated. One possibility is redeveloping adjacent property to pay for renovations.

There was going to be a deal with the Nederlander organization to book the theatre. Evidently that was contingent on a chunk of redevelopment agency money being available for renovations. With the demise of redevelopment agencies statewide, the money vanished -- and the deal collapsed.

Santa Monica Civic in the Movies:  The venue was the location for filming "The T.A.M.I. Show" (American International, 1964).

More Information:  Save The Civic is an organization spearheading a campaign to prevent a teardown of the building.  You can also visit them on Facebook.

Curbed L.A. ran a piece in March 2014 by Neal Broverman suggesting that a revitalized Civic could be the centerpiece of a new cultural district. Also see the May 2013 Curbed story "Should SaMo Tear Down Its Midcentury Civic Auditorium?."

A June 2013 Santa Monica Mirror piece detailed the city's struggles with the future of the building. 

Santa Monica Daily Press ran a  May 19 story about the city's plan to mothball the venue. The L.A. Times ran a June 29, 2013 story about the closure.

Wikipedia has an article on the Santa Monica Civic.


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     Civic Auditorium website    

smgov.net/departments/ccs/civicauditorium



A look at the Civic in concert mode. The photo
 is from the venue's website.



     Vintage Los Angeles    

facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles



In the lobby for opening day at the Santa Monica Civic
in 1958. Alison Martino discovered the photo in
the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
 full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres




Opening day 1958 at the Civic. Alison Martino has
 the photo on Vintage Los Angeles, where she
credits it to the Los Angeles Public Library.



Liz Taylor is heading to the stage for her best actress
Oscar in 1961 for "Butterfield 8" She's escorted by
then-husband Eddie Fisher. Ej Cat added the
photo to the Vintage Los Angeles page.
 full size view
| on LATheatres.blogspot




A 1968 Academy Awards shot added to the Vintage
Los Angeles collection by Debra Romo-Zenter.
A mid-60s postcard view added to the Vintage
 Los Angeles collection by Richard Wojcik. 
full size view  | on FB/LATheatres



Thanks to Richard Wojcik for his post of this
Julius Schulman / Getty Collection photo from
1958. Don't miss the comments on Vintage
Los Angeles, where there are 4 more photos.
full size view | on Vintage LA

Also from Richard:



The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
for the 1968 Academy Awards.

photo: Save The Civic

[ click on the image to head to a
larger view on their website ]



     Curbed L.A.    

la.curbed.com


A nice view of the Civic from the 2013 Curbed L.A. story
 "Should SaMo Tear Down Its Midcentury Civic Auditorium?"

by Neal Broverman.
 full size view




     L.A. Public Library Photo Collection    

 www.lapl.org 



The architect Welton Becket in a 1960 photo.
 full size view





The 40th Academy Awards, 1968. The photo
is from the Marc Wanamaker collection.
full size view


Also see:
| 1960 exterior -- Eugene Hanson  |

The LAPL has about 25 more views of
various events at the Auditorium.


     Save The Civic    


A look at the lobby. The terrazzo
was re-done in the 90s.
The balcony level lobby.


Ever wondered what was underneath the
Civic's adjustable floor? This is part of the
hydraulic system.
 
full size view | on FB/LATheatres



The house set up with a flat floor
 in banquet configuration.
A look backstage.

These photos are part of a 25 photo set
 taken June 25, 2013 by Nina Fresco.
Check it out!