Friday, March 7, 2014

"THE WALLIS": L.A.'s Newest Performing Arts Venue Debuts in Beverly Hills, CA

Situated in the heart of the Beverly Hills commercial district, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts ("The Wallis") officially opened its doors to the public in October 2013 with a dedication and a series of Galas, followed by programming beginning on November 8th with the world-renowned the Martha Graham Dance Company. 

The Wallis, the first performing arts center to be built in Beverly Hills, will be a home for artists from around the world and audiences of every age.

This new venue transforms an entire Beverly Hills city block near the Civic Center into a vibrant new cultural destination with TWO distinct, elegant buildings -- and has been completed in time for its 2013-2014 Inaugural Season to correspond with Beverly Hills' Centennial Celebration marking the 100th birthday of the City's incorporation.  
Artist's Rendering © 2013 Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.  Reprinted with permission.  

The most notable of the two buildings is the much loved historic 1933 Italianate-style Beverly Hills Post Office built as a WPA project during the Franklin Roosevelt administration.  For decades some of Beverly Hills' most recognizable residents from film and television kept post office boxes there, such as Fred Astaire and Jimmy Stewart.

In 2013, the City of Beverly Hills designated the Beverly Hills Post Office as a historical landmark, under the City's new Historic Preservation Ordinance.  The building had previously received designation on the National Register of Historic Places by the US Department of the Interior.

As part of "The Wallis", within the treasured Post Office, existing spaces are re-imagined into the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, a theater school for young people (opening in 2014), a CafĂ© and Gift Shop. 

The second building is the 500-seat, state-of-the-art Goldsmith Theater.   

Together, these two structures embrace Beverly Hills' history and future, creating a new cultural landmark.  Executive Director of The Wallis, Lou Moore, and Architect Zoltan Pali convey the overall excitement of this achievement  -- which was years "in the making" -- in the following video from October 2013:

In 2014 The Wallis will begin a year-round program of professional theater classes for young people ages eight to eighteen, with classrooms and administrative areas located in the Post Office. Drawing from the rich talent of Los Angeles’s entertainment industry, a faculty of professionals and theater educators serve as the directors and teachers of the program providing a diverse curriculum of the arts. The school will offer exciting, unique opportunities for students to study with guest artists appearing on the main stage, as well at the Studio Theater, which is located in the original mail sorting room.

"The Wallis" now is included in our "Los Angeles Architecture -- An Eclectic Landscape"© custom-designed itinerary. For more information about this unique and comprehensive heritage and cultural tour covering L.A.'s architectural history from "early settlement to the present", visit us at
Reservations close on February 15th during each year we offer this Tour. 

(Photo and Audiovisual sources :   The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts)

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