History

Livermore Valley Conference and Cultural Center

In 1995, the city of Livermore began a downtown redevelopment effort with the goal of bringing enhanced vitality and excitement to the center of the community. In 1998 three community-minded citizens, Philip Wente, Joan Seppala, and Phillip Dean formed a nonprofit corporation to begin the development of a performing arts center as part of that downtown revitalization. At that time, the name of the corporation was the Livermore Valley Conference and Cultural Center, reflecting the desire to include a hotel and conference center in the project. In 1999, the corporation was recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization allowing LVPAC to begin to accept tax-deductible contributions.

Through the donations of generous individuals, the corporation conducted a number of studies to investigateĀ the need for the facility and to learn how it might be financed. A needs assessment and market analysis showed that the Tri-Valley had the ideal demographics to support a performing arts center. One year later, based on available land and the desire to create size-appropriate venues, the decision was made to develop two distinctly different performance facilities, the firstĀ being a 500-seat community theater intended primarily for use by local performing arts groups. The theater would also present nationally-recognized artists and support regional events, as well as use by community groups, schools, and colleges.

The Performing Arts Center

To support this plan, the Performing Arts Center Board undertook many studies including site options, funding feasibility, acoustics, property acquisition, tenant relocation, parking, property boundaries, architecture, technical and space issues. At the same time, the Board decided to focus on the theaters alone and changed the corporation name to Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, Inc. (LVPAC). It was soon determined that the 500-seat theater should be the first venue constructed.

The project’s first paid staff was hired in August of 2005. A groundbreaking ceremony for the 500-seat Bankhead Theater was held in October of 2005. Site work began in February of 2006. In July 2006, LVPAC received $22.8 Million in proceeds from a State of California tax-exempt bond sale allowing construction of the theater to move forward. Construction was completed in early September 2007 – both on time and under budget. Gala opening ceremonies were held during the first two weeks in October.

The Bankhead Theater

In its first season, the Bankhead Theater hosted more than 200 performance and civic events, reaching a combined audience of more than 76,000 individuals, including more than 14,000 school children, drawn from more than thirty communities across the Bay Area. Subsequent seasons have continued to provide Livermore and the Tri-Valley with access to performances and events that stir the imagination, creativity, and emotion. Visit the calendar section of this website for detailed information on upcoming Bankhead Theater’s live music, performances, attractions and more.