The Center for the Art of Performance and UCLA School of the Arts & Architecture have acquired the Crest Theatre on Westwood Boulevard as a new performance space for its arts public programming. A landmark venue dating back to the 1940s, the Crest will be transformed into the UCLA Nimoy Theater, a new off-campus performing arts space that will be operated and managed by CAP UCLA.

The UCLA Nimoy Theater is envisioned as a much-needed public platform for emerging contemporary performing artists across all disciplines whose work seeks an intimate scale, including extraordinary UCLA students and recent alumni, independent practitioners throughout Los Angeles and national and international visiting artists. The reinvigorated theater, which will be upgraded to current standards and outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, will become a dynamic home on the Westside of Los Angeles for both audiences and artists, enabling creative collaboration and presentation in theater, music, digital media, spoken word, dance and contemporary performance.

UCLA’s purchase of the long-dormant theater was made possible by major gifts from actor, writer and director Susan Bay Nimoy and an anonymous donor. With an anticipated opening date in 2021, the venue will be re-named the UCLA Nimoy Theater, in honor of Nimoy’s late husband, Leonard Nimoy.   

BAR Architects has been selected to lead the renovation team. Insightful and creative repurposing of existing buildings is fundamental to BAR Architects’ practice. Their diverse portfolio includes projects such as George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute, Sonoma State University’s School of Music at the Green Music Center and the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. BAR also has a deep-rooted connection to the Crest Theatre dating back to the late 1980s when they were selected by the Walt Disney Company to replace the original façade with one reminiscent of an Art Deco Revival movie palace.

As the UCLA Nimoy Theater, the Crest Theatre will return to its historic roots as a performing arts venue. The space originally opened in December 1940 as the Westwood Theater, a live performance hall, designed by the architect Arthur W. Hawes. In 2008, the Crest was designated a Historic-Cultural Landmark by the city of Los Angeles.

Building on the strength of UCLA’s internationally acclaimed public arts institutions and programs, the renovation of the Crest into the Nimoy reinforces the university’s commitment to the arts and public engagement as it marks its centennial in 2019.

CAP UCLA will launch a capital campaign to raise funds for the renovation and activation of its new performance space, the UCLA Nimoy Theater. Through philanthropic support, the space will be transformed from a dormant movie theater into an innovative and flexible 250+ seat performing arts venue that will play a vital role in the arts ecology of Los Angeles. Inspired by this vision, and to inspire other arts supporters, one of the campaign’s lead donors has made a challenge gift that will match dollar for dollar all contributions to the campaign up to $2.5 million.

If you are interested in learning more about the campaign and the impact your support can have through this matching opportunity, please contact Sarah Sullivan, Director of Development for CAP UCLA, at 310-206-6431.