Description and review of the newly-renovated and expanded SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center (formerly the Sacramento Community Center Theater).
The newly-renovated and expanded SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center opened September 15 with the mega-hit “Hamilton.”
A friend and I are Broadway on Tour season ticket holders, and our tickets were for the following week. It would be the first time either of us attended the theater since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. To say we were looking forward to it is an understatement!
Knowing that proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test was required, as well as masking, made all the difference. I did, however, purchase KN 95 masks to wear that evening as it was a large indoor event.
COVID-19 Safety Requirements
The SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center, following the state’s directive for large indoor gatherings, requires that:
- All ticketholders, regardless of age, show proof of full COVID vaccination or a negative test result from the COVID PCR test (taken within 72 hours of performance time) for entry into the venue; and,
- All patrons, regardless of age and vaccination status, wear masks at all times (except when consuming food or beverage). Acceptable masks are: surgical, cloth, or (K) N95. No gaiters, bandanas, face shields, or masks with an exhalation valve.
Additionally, It is recommended that patrons arrive 45 minutes prior to the performance to allow venue staff to check:
- Proof of vaccination or negative test result; and,
- Driver’s license or other photo ID
My friend and I arrived early to the performance, as recommend. The first staff we encountered checked our documentation, and the second our tickets. It was a very smooth process.
SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center
The renovated theater building has a good-sized outdoor area on L Street where patrons can gather pre- and post-performance. The front of the building is now much closer to L Street allowing for the significant expansion of the lobby area.
L Street Lobby/Lobby Public Art
The expanded lobby area is now capable of comfortably accommodating much larger crowds. Above the lobby bar is one of Sacramento’s newest public art installations – Acorn by Nova Jiang.
The sculpture is made of aluminum, fiberglass, wood instruments and acrylic paint. According to its creator, the artwork is inspired by the image of an oak sapling sprouting from an acorn and explores how trees are used to make the instruments that fill theaters with music.
Since we were early, my friend and I decided to enjoy a glass of wine in the lobby before checking out the theater. The wine ($12) was served in individual-drink sized cans.
Before sipping my wine I went to check out the nearest ladies-room (upstairs directly behind the bar). The lack of sufficient facilities for women in the 1974-built Sacramento Community Center Theater was a major sore spot for women. Only time will tell if the new red-tiled and carpeted facilities (expanded from 24 to 60) will meet the need.
The size of the theater appears to be the same or nearly the same post-renovation.
The seating has been changed from the very long row style of seating to what is now traditional theater seating. There are two aisles on the side and a cross aisle in the middle. This was one of the changes needed to bring the facility into ADA compliance.
We were seated on the right side of the theater, and had a good view of the stage. It was with some dismay, however, that we found the seats to be a bit uncomfortable. Maybe they just need to get broken in?
The renovated theater now has wood paneling on the walls and overhead to address the issue of acoustics/sound quality. This was yet another problem with the old theater. The performance of Hamilton was a perfect test case – and in my non-expert opinion it passed!
Registers in the flooring of the theater provide the heating and cooling. That evening my friend and I were not the only ones in the vicinity to comment that we were “freezing.”
I remember reading that the renovated theater was going to have a high MERV-rating air filtration system to filter out contaminants, so it seems likely it was going full blast to do just that.
Next time I attend the theater I will definitely be wearing closed-toe shoes as opposed to dress sandals!
To Sum Up
In conclusion, my comments above represent my first impressions. I expect to add additional observations as I become more familiar with the facility.
Comments on the renovated SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center?
What has been your experience at the renovated facility?
SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center Snapshot:
- 1301 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
- (916) 808-5181 (box office)
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