Theater Design and Spaces

The renovation of The Nimoy will restore the theater to its original role as a venue for live performance and cinematic arts. Francis Seymour Fonda, the wife of Henry and mother of Peter and Jane, was the force behind the creation of the UCLAN Theater (later known as The Crest), which opened in 1940. In 1942, the theater was re-purposed to fulltime movie programming and it continued as a movie theater until being shuttered in 2014. In 1987, the Walt Disney Company hired B.A.R. Architects to complete a redesign of the theater in time for the world premiere of Three Men and A Baby, a comedy directed by Leonard Nimoy.

The renovation design will create a welcoming and informal atmosphere for audiences and artists. Enhancements to the facility will include an expanded lobby for pre- and post-performance socializing and events; an updated bar and guest facilities; new seating and theatrical production systems; and a backstage green room with artist support spaces – all designed to create memorable and transformative experiences for Los Angeles audiences. The latest technology will accommodate contemporary performance by groundbreaking artists.

These are the things that will make The Nimoy a true home for artists.


The façade of the theater is an important component of the neighborhood’s streetscape. Upon completion, the renovated façade will once again signal that exciting activities are underway inside. The iconic marquee and blade sign will be leveraged as place-making features; the blade sign will prominently feature the new name, “the UCLA Nimoy Theater” and the marquee will feature the names of performing artists and their shows. 

Upon entering the building, the Lobby will welcome guests and create anticipation for the upcoming performance. Expanding the lobby space to comfortably accommodate all ticketed guests during pre- and post-performance events is critical to the success of the theater. A prominently located and highly visible bar will offer food and beverage and will provide critical revenue for the theater so that ticket prices can be kept at affordable levels. 

The Nimoy will be a theatrical “work-horse,” designed to be a functional, flexible and easily adaptable performance space that supports emerging contemporary practice across all performance disciplines and works that seek an intimate scale. The performance area will be identified as a “platform” and will be flexible in terms of size and configuration. Sets will be minimal to reduce costs and facilitate quick — often daily — changes in shows. The interior will feature fixed seating on a raked floor in the rear, of the Auditorium, and movable seating in the front, allowing for multiple configurations (for cabaret, dance, etc.)

The Lounge will serve as an additional gathering space for VIPs and patrons before, during or after a performance. An adjacent small balcony, the Bridge, at the rear of the auditorium will create a flexible and intimate space for a small group of patrons to view performances and will also be a possible location for a sound mix station, special lighting or other equipment.

The back of house area will support visiting artists and facilitate loading and unloading of shows. The green room will be large enough to support an 18-person company, while also creating a comfortable, relaxing lounge for artists. Dressing rooms and artist support spaces will be adjacent to the green room.

Functional, flexible & adaptable design: The Nimoy is designed to easily adapt and transform according to the needs of artists and audiences and in conditions of uncertainty. Movable seating will allow for social distancing as audiences return to live performance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sustainability: The Nimoy will be designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating and outperform the required provisions of the California Energy Code by at least 20%. New mechanical systems and energy-efficient equipment will replace outdated systems. And no construction is more sustainable than reusing an existing building.

Technology: The Nimoy will feature the most advanced technology for live performance productions, including the latest digital and projection equipment that is key to evolving practices. A permanent three-camera setup will allow filming performances for streaming.

Lighting design: The auditorium’s design infrastructure will accommodate changing technology for lighting and audiovisual components of performances. Simple controls will focus lights and adjust systems from floor level. Many artists self-manage their performances and the controls will be nimble to minimize equipment augmentation needed by artists.

Acoustics: The auditorium’s acoustics will be designed to accommodate a wide range of performance types and groups, and most performances will be amplified.

Location and transportation: Located within a block of Wilshire Boulevard, The Nimoy has access to bus lines on both Westwood and Wilshire Boulevard, and in the future will be a short walk from the Metro Purple Line.