A New Look for New Village Arts

December 21, 2022

After being closed for years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a major renovation project, a full-scale reopening is slated in early 2023 for Carlsbad’s New Village Arts.

“We’re really excited to reopen and be back in our home and offer year-round theater and arts experiences here,” said Kristianne Kurner, founder and executive artistic director of New Village Arts.

In 2020, New Village Arts announced “The Next Stage”, a $2.5 million fundraising campaign to renovate its 100-seat theater in the heart of Carlsbad Village. The theater and arts company has raised more than $2.8 million so far for the project, which now costs an estimated $3.2 million.

Renovations include an improved theatrical space, including a new stage floor, rigging, lighting and sound equipment. Other improvements include a new lobby and gallery space, an expanded box office, an expanded bar, new bathrooms, and exterior improvements.

New Village Arts will feature a second performance space that will accommodate about 60 people for live entertainment. There is also a new, dedicated education center and rehearsal space.

Prior to the pandemic, New Village Arts attracted more than 20,000 patrons per year to its Carlsbad Village theater for plays, musicals, classes and other events. Kurner anticipates that number to grow to at least 30,000 with the enhanced and expanded spaces.

“It’s just going to be a fantastic place where people can come in and experience art in surprising ways and also just be together as a community,” Kurner said.

Kurner launched New Village Arts in 2001. Since then, the theater and arts company has grown into a cultural hub of North County San Diego.

“We have an incredible journey through Carlsbad,” she said.

The company’s first production was in a converted chicken coop, now a historical building called the Granary in Magee Park. New Village Arts then moved into the Jazzercise warehouse but quickly outgrew the space.

“That really allowed us to establish our patron base, our relationship with the City of Carlsbad, and our reputation with theatrical critics,” Kurner said.

In 2006, the company found a home at the former Bauer Lumber property at 2787 State Street. The property is owned by the City. In 2020, Carlsbad granted New Village Arts a 10-year lease of the building with two five-year extensions.

“We’ve had fantastic support from City Council and City staff who recognize the importance of having a healthy arts system in our Village,” Kurner said. “We’ve also had fantastic support from the people of Carlsbad themselves who have grown with us through the years.”

New Village Arts has become one of the region’s most respected theaters. In addition to offering full seasons of plays and musicals, the arts company hosts talkback discussions and other supplementary events designed to create conversation and cultivate community.

“We believe that our purpose as storytellers is to bring our community together to share stories that you may not hear anywhere else and to have that communal shared experience of coming together,” Kurner said.

New Village Arts also maintains The Foundry Artist Studios, a collaborative studio space for local visual artists. Additionally, the arts company offers robust theater programs for students in local schools, and educational and artistic programs for young adults with neurodiversity and adults with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The arts company offers robust theater programs for students in local schools. Credit: New Village Arts

“We’re considered a leader in all of San Diego for our work being a truly diverse and equitable company,” Kurner said. “We’re also recognized as one of the top arts organizations in Southern California.”

New Village Arts launched a soft opening of the updated space in late December with its holiday musical, “1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas.” A full grand reopening is scheduled at the end of January and beginning of February with the company’s production of Tony Award-winning “The Ferryman.” New Village Arts will be the first theater company in the world to produce the show outside of London and Broadway.

The holiday musical, “1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas.”  Credit: New Village Arts

“We strongly believe that New Village Arts is a part of the renaissance of Carlsbad Village,” Kurner said. “It’s so exciting to see where the Village is now and where it’s going.”

Visit newvillagearts.org/next-stage to learn more about the renovation project and donate to the fundraising campaign.