Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara (ETC) began as the Ensemble Theatre Project in 1978 under the direction of Joseph Hanreddy. For the first three years, plays were performed at Trinity Episcopal Church. In 1981, ETC made the 140-seat Alhecama Theatre its home for more than 25 years. Beginning in 2009, ETC undertook a $12.6 million renovation of the Victoria Hall Theater. It opened its new 300-seat home, the New Vic, in 2013. The New Vic has become a venue for dance, music, film, and lectures.
After Joseph Hanreddy left Santa Barbara in 1985, Robert Grande Weiss became Artistic Director, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. Jonathan Fox assumed the position of Executive Artistic Director in September 2006 and saw the company through great expansion. Jill Seltzer joined ETC as its Managing Director in 2016 and was succeeded in that position by Scott Devine in 2022.
ETC, which became an Equity theatre in 1989, is Santa Barbara’s sole professional theatre company. The company, which presents five or six plays per season, has produced several American and West Coast premieres, and has garnered numerous awards over the years.