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Monday, September 25, 2023

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Rendering of Second Stage Theatre Rendering of Second Stage Theatre

Prebys Foundation Becomes Second Stage Project Angel

A $6 million grant will allow development of a new stage for the forthcoming Performing Arts District.
By Jeff Ristine

“It’s an investment in SDSU’s future and will unite our community by bringing us together to enjoy the arts.”

The Conrad Prebys Foundation has awarded a $6 million grant to San Diego State University’s College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA) for development of a new stage for student productions and rehearsals.

The Second Stage Theatre, to be named for Conrad Prebys, will become part of a renovated Performing Arts District and a new creative hub at SDSU. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.

“The foundation was drawn to this particular project because the theatre will support students by providing them a dedicated space to develop their talents and hone their craft,” said foundation president and SDSU alumnus Dan Yates (‘83).

The gift is among nearly $78 million in new grant funding announced by the Conrad Prebys Foundation. The foundation’s namesake was a real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist who in 2014 donated $20 million toward student scholarships in seven areas at SDSU, recognized on campus with the renaming of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. Prebys passed away in 2016.

“Conrad was adamant that his higher education was a catalyst for many of the successes in his life,” said Yates. “He had a deep love of the visual and performing arts, so we felt that this project, in particular, would have made Conrad very proud.”

Peggy Shannon, dean of PSFA, called the grant a “transformational gift” that “ensures a long-lasting legacy for SDSU's performing arts.”

Shannon added: “The Conrad Prebys Foundation gift naming the Second Stage Theatre provides for a state-of-the-art venue that facilitates excellent training, and performance opportunities for SDSU students and faculty as well as a quality performing arts experience for those who reside in San Diego’s East County.”

Planned features include a backlit standalone marquee and digital outdoor signing to promote upcoming events.

The gift to PSFA’s “On to a New Stage” fundraising campaign enhances a $37 million contribution from California State University to upgrade the existing Main Stage Theatre and create a full-fledged Performing Arts District.

A new sound design lab will be developed to properly “mix” live concerts, musicals, lectures, streaming theatrical performances, and a new patron box office will be created as part of what PSFA calls a commitment to provide students, faculty with the highest level of artistic experiences, and community members with high-quality and affordable arts programming.

The Main Stage Theatre will be improved with upgraded technology and infrastructure; LED and intelligent lighting; digital immersive technology; and a new curtain for the proscenium.

“We are so grateful for this incredible gift from the Conrad Prebys Foundation,” said Adrienne Vargas, vice president of university relations and development at SDSU. “It’s an investment in SDSU’s future and will unite our community by bringing us together to enjoy the arts.”