The grand reopening of Santa Rosa Junior College’s Burbank Auditorium brought students, faculty and alumni alike through inviting doors to celebrate the updated building.
“We’re really here, aren’t we!” said Leslie McCauley, chair of SRJC’s theater arts department. “We’re still pinching ourselves. It’s so beautiful.”
The $30 million building was funded after Sonoma County voters approved the $410 million Measure H bond to update the theater and other SRJC structures, including an athletic stadium and practice field, and math and technology buildings.
Burbank Auditorium seats 400 with updated seats, an orchestral pit, a fly system and other state-of-the-art technology. Alongside it is the Studio Theatre, an addition to the existing building.
“This is night and day; we are in the day,” said SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong. “A great community asset going to be used for the next 80 years.”
Students were overjoyed and look forward to the new dressing and costume rooms; they have been using the green room since the beginning of the semester.
It’s SRJC theater arts major Patricio Becerrim’s favorite part. “Finally, we have somewhere to stay,” Becerrim said.
“It gives me goosebumps,” said Michael Romero, SRJC alumni and teacher aide. “It’s well needed, and I’m happy to see it.”
SRJC theater arts major Britt Kruljac is in her third semester at SRJC; this is her first time being in Burbank Auditorium since performing in other theaters.
“It’s a lot. It’s refreshing to see, getting to know what the hell I’m into,” she said.
Theater majors weren’t the only people ecstatic to see the renovations. Miguel Sanchez, an animation major, enjoys the community aspect the building brings.
Artistic Director of Summer Repertory Theatre James Newman conducted a tour to bring crowds backstage in a single-file line.
“I never thought we’d be in a theater that follows building codes,” Newman said to the crowd.
“The Cripple of Inishmaan” premiered after the opening reception, the theater department’s historic first show in the Studio Theatre. SRJC’s music department will perform an equally historic number as the refurbished main theater’s first musical performance at 7 p.m. March 7 in the refurbished main theater.
This article was updated March 30 to reflect corrections about the length of the auditorium’s closure, among other items.