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Irvine City Theatre Is Hailed as a 'Cultural Partnership'

November 25, 1986|HERMAN WONG | Times Staff Writer

At a reception Monday honoring key supporters, officials of the planned Irvine City Theatre hailed the $9.5-million project as a "new cultural partnership" between city and university.

Construction of the 750-seat arts facility on the UC Irvine campus is expected to begin in the spring and be completed in 1989, officials told 200 persons attending the Irvine reception.

"The intent of planning in Irvine has always been to build a city in harmony with itself and its environment," said Mayor Larry Agran, who joined UC Irvine Chancellor Jack W. Peltason in a document-signing ceremony at the Marketplace, a shopping area across from the UCI campus. "Just as we have built industrial and residential sectors committed to excellence, this represents our longstanding commitment to cultural achievement."

Final approval for the project was given by the City Council and UC Board of Regents in July. The city will issue municipal bonds to pay for the $9.5-million theater, which will be used chiefly for the performing arts. The university has donated a 2 1/2-acre site in UC Irvine's Gateway Plaza.

The theater will be run by the Irvine City Theatre Operating Co.'s nine-member board of directors, consisting of city, UCI and community representatives. The general manager, Douglas Rankin, who administered city-run arts programs in Woodstock, Ill., was hired last month.

Next year, the board will launch a drive for private donations to underwrite the theater's operating costs, projected to be about $600,000 a year. Last summer, the Irvine Co. announced a $100,000 grant to help with first-year costs.

Operating costs not covered by private donations will be paid by the city and university, said theater board chairman Richard Sim, an Irvine Co. executive.

Councilwoman Sally Anne Miller, one of those honored at the reception, said the Irvine City Theatre will fulfill a need for a medium-sized indoor proscenium theater in the Irvine area. City-affiliated attractions are expected to include the Irvine Symphony, Irvine Community Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre's children's program and the Laguna Beach-based Ballet Pacifica.

Under the present agreement, the university will have use of the new theater one-third of the time.

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