Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board approves restoration plans for Plaza Theater – KESQ

The return of the iconic Palm Springs Plaza Theater continues to move forward.

Earlier this week, the City of Palm Springs Historic Sites Preservation Board (HSPB) approved renovation and restoration plans for the historic theater.

Renderings of the recently renovated Plaza Theater

Work on the renovation project is expected to begin in early summer 2023. It is anticipated to open in summer 2024.

Watch an in-depth interview with JR Roberts, President of the Palm Springs Plaza Theater Foundation, TONIGHT at 4:00 pm for the latest on the renovation project.

“The renovation/restoration plans will allow the Plaza Theater to better serve the community by increasing its capacity to host many types of events/productions. After it is upgraded and restored, the Plaza Theater will provide an exciting venue in downtown Palm Springs for live performances, performances, movie premieres, community and educational events, movies and much more,” read a new statement from the Palm Springs Plaza Theater Foundation.

The Plaza Theater renovation will provide necessary updates to the building’s infrastructure and modernize it to meet today’s health and safety standards while staying true to its storied storied past.

Officials said the theater’s original exterior appearance will be maintained, but new glass doors will be placed in the existing arches. This will substantially expand the foyer by incorporating the area currently covered but currently outside the main doors.

“By closing this space, the stairs to the balcony will finally be enclosed and air conditioned. A new fully integrated sound system will be installed to bring live performances to life and reduce event sound equipment rental costs,” wrote the foundation.

Additional changes:

  • The building’s HVAC system will be replaced with a new system that is energy efficient and quieter than the existing system.
  • Light fixtures will be restored or recreated from original 1930s plans to provide better lighting.
  • The platform (or ‘thrust’) of the stage will be widened to provide a larger performance area.
  • To bring the theater up to today’s standards, the dressing rooms will be renovated with upgraded restrooms and related facilities.
  • A reconfigured floor plan will ensure every seat in the home has optimal sight lines, adding more wheelchair accessible seating.
  • An ADA compliant dressing room and bathroom will be added next to the stage.

“The Plaza Theater is an excellent example of the ‘atmospheric style’ of design that was popular in the late 1920s and early 1930s, when the theater was originally built,” the foundation wrote.

The atmospheric theaters were designed and decorated to evoke the feeling of being outdoors through the use of projectors, architectural elements, and ornamentation. The original design of the Plaza Theater auditorium resembled a Spanish courtyard under a night sky.

In preparation for the restoration, paint samples were taken and examined to determine the theater’s original color palette, and original plans and historic photographs were consulted to confirm which elements were original and which had been added over the years. years.

The new plan includes the restoration of the atmospheric walls and proscenium arch, the reinstallation of new “star field” lighting in the ceiling, the installation of new seating, and the addition of new carpeting in the hallways and foyer.

“This is an important milestone on our way to complete this project. We are working with experts to discover the theater’s original color palette and materials, and this has guided our design process. In addition to restoring the building, we are fulfilling a promise to increase accessibility and balance historic preservation with state-of-the-art technology. I am confident that the completed Plaza Theater will be spectacular in every way,” said JR Roberts, president of the Foundation.

The Plaza Theater Foundation has raised $13.5 million to meet its goal of $16 million. They have launched “The Next Act” fundraising campaign to raise the remaining funds for this summer.

There are many ways the public can play an important role in the restoration of the Plaza Theatre, including becoming a Founder, securing a Naming Opportunity for seats or other areas of the building, or making a general donation. For more information visit

The Palm Springs Plaza Theater Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization and contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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