Powerhouse Theatre History

The Power House was built in 1910 as the original structure to house the Southern California Edison Electrical Plant for the city of Santa Monica. Built in the mission revival style that was popular at the time, the building stands as one of several substations in the Los Angeles area that was commissioned by the architecturally adventurous developers at Southern California Edison. You may be familiar with some of our sister buildings such as the Ivy Substation.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the property was turned over to the neighboring Temple to use as a second worship space. They in turn rented out the facility to a variety of businesses and individuals and the space enjoyed a short run as a recording studio for alternative music. In 1982, the building was converted into a theater by noted Santa Monica personality Rey Hay and his good friends Paul Linke and Lucinda Zeizing.

In the mid-80s, under the leadership of the Company Theater Foundation, the Powerhouse became known for it’s in-your face theatrics which included the popular Linke vs. Redfield series of productions, the Actors’ Gang’s premiere performance in Los Angeles and other notable work. In the late 80’s management of the facility changed hands to a group known as the Powerhouse Repertory Company.

Under the leadership of John Ruskin and John Achorn, the company created many memorable theatrical productions but the devastation of the 1994 earthquake made the theater almost unusable.

The Powerhouse Theatre Company has been managing the property since April 1st of 1995. For the last several years, the Powerhouse has hosted countless productions, numerous free concerts for the city of Santa Monica, a community events series, and an active array of programs for children and all of Santa Monica.

How it looks now...

The Powerhouse Theater is located at 3116 2nd Street between Rose and Marine just off of Main at the southern border of Santa Monica. The property consists of an indoor theater space with seating for 75 audience members. The Stage measures 23’ wide by 21’ deep and boasts a 16’ ceiling. It has recently been refurbished with all new carpeting, audience seating, a new stereo sound system and new lighting equipment. Our outdoor courtyard has been renovated to include a redwood deck measuring 50’ x 35’ and it is used regularly for receptions and gatherings.


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