About The Firehouse Arts Center
The Firehouse Theater brings you performances in music, poetry, theater, comedy, film and more. You’ll experience the drama of world-class programming and a state-of-the-art venue for an unforgettable evening. This 20,000 sq. ft. cultural arts center features a 227-seat theater, a 2,000 sq. ft. fine arts gallery, an 1,800 sq. ft. classroom space, and an hourglass shaped grand lobby that links Downtown Pleasanton to the facility’s 3,000 sq. ft. Parkside patio and adjacent Lions Wayside Park.
The facility’s unique design effectively incorporates the old with the new. This approach consciously reflects guidelines set by the National Park Service for all adaptive reuses of historical buildings. Those guidelines call for the very clear visual demarcation between new construction and any preserved historic edifice. The facility also reflects its unique setting, featuring warm, vibrant colors on its west entrance “Firehouse” street side, and a “Parkside” entrance that features curvilinear wooden walls and cool accent colors, all in visual harmony with the adjoining Lions Wayside Park.
The Firehouse Arts Center offers an array of unique operational and maintenance features. “Green building” components include extensive use of recycled materials, solar panels which supply 15% of the building’s electricity needs, sculptural bicycle racks to promote alternative transportation, high efficiency climate controls. The Firehouse Theater features flexible seating in a below-grade tiered area for end-of-house proscenium type performances. That same area may be replaced with platforms to form a completely flat floor for a multitude of intimate seating configurations for thrust, arena, and cabaret staging.
The Firehouse Arts Center is designed to promote participation in recreational experiences as they relate to the arts. Examples include a thriving youth theater program that offers classes, rehearsals, and performance opportunities for young people. These activities are taught, directed and produced by theater professionals. Theater performances, arts exhibits, classes of all kinds, all develop skills and provide memorable experiences that last lifetimes. The Firehouse Arts Center, a beautiful work of art in and of itself, located in the heart of Pleasanton, serves as an inviting beacon, strengthening community image and sense of place.
Pleasanton Fire Department History
In 1888, a volunteer fire department was organized in the area now known as Pleasanton. This organization consisted of three fire companies with a total of twenty men. The equipment was comprised of two hose carts (Protection Hose Company #1 and Alisal Hose Company #2) and Hook and Ladder Company #1 which carried twenty leather fire buckets.
More than 100 years later, the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department staff consists of 30 fire captains, 30 fire engineers, 30 firefighters/paramedics, 18 firefighters in line operations, 6 chief officers, 5 managers, 1 disaster preparedness coordinator, 4 fire prevention inspectors, 1 hazardous materials coordinator, 2 hazardous materials inspectors and 4 office support staff.
We are grateful to our past and present Pleasanton Fire Chiefs:
- Jim Georgis 1930
- John Amaral 1954
- John Frudden 1960s
- Joseph Hill 1977
- George Withers 1989-1997 (32 years of service with the Pleasanton Fire Department)
- Stewart Gary 1997-2005
- Bill Cody 2005-2009
- James Miguel 2009-present
About the Amador Theater
The Amador Theater has served as the City’s principal performing arts facility for over 60 years. It was constructed in the late 1930’s as part of the Amador Valley High School Campus. Over the years, the Theater hosted innumerable school plays, band concerts, lectures and assemblies. The Theater also was the home for the CASK and MASK, later known as the Masquers. This highly successful community theater group, directed by Mr. Harry Tripp, was very active at the Amador Theater during the late thirties and early forties. In 1939, the group was invited to perform its production of Abie’s Irish Rose at the San Francisco World’s Fair.
The post war years saw a decline in community theater activity, but the theater remained a busy place. In addition to regular school programming, the community continued to enjoy a variety of events. Out-of-town touring companies and colleges brought Broadway musicals. Perhaps one of the most popular programs was the Scholarship Follies, a yearly vaudeville burlesque that was presented by service clubs and school faculties as a benefit for future teacher scholarships. These hilarious and sold out romps continued to be presented until the mid 1960’s.
Nineteen Sixty-four saw the premiere of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, the first production directed by Mrs. Abel Danny, to be presented at the Theater. This remarkable high school drama instructor went on to develop a program that became a state model, and which lasted over 20 years until her retirement. Many alumni of this program went on to professional careers in the theater and entertainment fields.
Reemerging interest in community theater manifested itself in the early 1970’s with the activities of the Institute for Theatrical Studies. This organization provided theater instruction and produced several plays at the Theater. Mrs. Aden’s program burgeoned and offered a series of summer musicals that were immensely popular not only in terms of audience size but in the numbers of community members who flocked to auditions. During this decade a new facade was built for the theater and the stage was extended out beyond the proscenium. Despite these improvements, time and heavy use were taking its toll on the Theater.
By 1981, The Amador Theater was in need of major repairs. At the same time, the emergence of the highly successful Children’s Theater Workshop and the development of Pleasanton Playhouse, a community theater group with roots in the earlier Institute for Theatrical Studies, indicated a need for a first-rate performing arts facility. The Pleasanton Community Concert Band, the Livermore-Amador Symphony and the Valley Choral Society also lent their strong support for the development of such a facility. The Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, Pleasanton School District and the City of Pleasanton agreed to explore the creation of a joint powers authority, which would raise funds for the renovation and provide subsequent management of the Amador Theater. The Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council agreed to spearhead an unprecedented fund raising drive to accomplish this task.
The renovation was accomplished in three phases over a period of eight years. The Cultural Arts Council raised over $800,000 in cash and in-kind materials and services. The building was reroofed. Large windows were removed. Air conditioning was installed. A second phase included the removal of old seats and their replacement with all new chairs. The inside of the auditorium was completely redecorated and lighting and sound control systems were installed in a newly constructed control booth.
With the completion of phases one and two, the theater was ready for performances and audiences. But several vital amenities remained uncompleted. A lobby with rest rooms, box office and refreshment kitchen still needed to be constructed. Construction of a large scenery storage room adjacent to the stage had not yet begun. Bids to complete these projects came in at over $1.2 million. At this point the City of Pleasanton agreed to fund the rest of the renovation project. It was agreed that, instead of a joint powers arrangement, the theater would be owned and operated by the City of Pleasanton’s Department of Parks and Community Services for the benefit of the community. It was also agreed that the School District would enjoy 60 days free use of the facility each year.
In April 1989, the completed, newly renovated Amador Theater was dedicated to the public. The Gala Opening featured short presentations from all of the performing arts groups that would soon make Amador Theater the cultural center of the City. In 1993, some 60,000 people viewed or participated in an event at the Amador Theater, continuing a 50-year tradition of magic and enchantment.