Built in the 1930s, the Marjorie Luke Theatre lived much of its life as a 1,000 seat auditorium at Santa Barbara Junior High School. Under the tutelage of Marjorie Luke and other dedicated theatre arts teachers, many students developed their earliest experiences on stage in this facility.
Under a joint venture between the Community Youth Performing Arts Center and the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the theatre was renovated to improve audience seating and sightlines with seating reduced to 800, acoustic performance was optimized, and theatre technical systems were brought up to current standards.
The original Spanish Colonial aesthetic was retained with extensive use of tiles throughout the campus that are listed with the Tile Heritage Foundation. Refurbishment of the original wood theatre seats includes adding upholstery and refinishing the wood and metal parts. The reconfigured sloped floor provides ADA accessibility, and a lift to the stage is included that does not interrupt any of the original decorative elements. The original auditorium clerestory windows that had been removed were recreated using light boxes to create an open space filled with light. State of the art technical systems have been included with minimal impact to the existing interior design. The Luke Theatre has become a home for many local performing arts groups and a host theatre for many touring productions.