Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the top questions we hear almost every day:
Why did you take a programming hiatus?
It was important for the organization to take the time to do an in-depth study of the company and figure out how we could retool the organization for this new economic climate. With our extremely small staff, this could not be done while also carrying on the tasks of daily operations, so we chose to take an 8-week programming hiatus. The Vallejo Community Arts Foundation Board of Trustees, staff and volunteer committees, along with a number of professional consultants, are all actively participating in these efforts and believe this was the most constuctive and responsible action to take. We all look toward the future of the theatre with renewed enthusiasm and lookfrward to the resumption of programming which will begin on March 22nd.
When will the theater reopen?
Events are currently scheduled beginning March 22nd. Please see our events' page for dates and information.
What are the theater's plans for the future?
We have a wealth of information from the last year of operations about events that did well and those that didn't. It is too early in the Strategic Planning process to be able to fully answer this question, but clearly the theater will be very market responsive in its programming choices and operating models. We are working with a number of professional consultants to develop the next stage of the Empress Theatre's operation. Some changes should begin appearing immediately, others will take some time to implement.
What can I do to help?
Attend the theater's events, make a donation now, and volunteer. Each of these helps the theater maintain lower operating costs and thrive!
When was the theater built?
The theater originally opened on Valentine's Day 1912. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake closed the theater. A complete history of the theater is available here.
When did the theater reopen?
After a 5-year renovation project lead by a public/private/nonprofit partnership between the City of Vallejo, Triad Communities and the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation, the theater reopened to sold-out crowds on March 15, 2008.
Who owns the theater?
The theater renovation was paid for inpart by a series of Historic and New Markets tax credits. These Federal programs require that the beneficiary of these credits own the building for the period of the tax credits. Because of this, Triad Communities currently owns the physical building, though it will automatically revert to City ownership upon the completion of the Tax Credit Period. The theater is managed, operated and maintained by the nonprofit Vallejo Community Arts Foundation, Inc.
Who choses the programming that appears at the Empress?
Programming choices come to our attention from a variety of sources including professional booking agents, our internal Events Committee and community suggestions. These are distilled through a series of focuses and requirements put in place as part of the partnership agreement for the renovation of the theater as well as a history of similar types of events and the building's ability to handle shows of different types. Ultimately, the General Manager choses the events that the Empress produces under guidance from the organization's Board of Trustees.
Can I use the theater for my own show/event?
Of course! The Empress Theatre is a rental facility as well as a presenting organization. The theater is available for rental use and has housed quite a number of great rental events since its reopening. And yes, we have nonprofit rental rates available, too. Find Out More
I have an idea for a show you should present at the Empress. Who do I tell about it?
Some of the very best show ideas come from our Patrons and community! But not all of them work within the confines of the theater's physical limitations or the budget of a venue with under 500 seats. Still, we want to hear about your thoughts and show ideas. And who know when they just may appear on our stage or screen? We've created a simple process for you to submit your show ideas here.
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Thank you for your interest and support of the Empress Theatre