downtown los angeles

A Noise Within Theatre Readies for Ground Breaking in Pasadena

The theater will add another dynamic layer to the expanding transit-oriented development (TOD) next to the Gold Line Sierra Madre Villa station

Something exciting has been developing on the east end of Pasadena at the terminus of the Gold Line (Sierra Madre Villa). According to the Pasadena Star News, a renowned theater company called, A Noise Within, which is “the only classical repertory company in Southern California,” chose Pasadena to become its new permanent home and is ready to break ground next month in April on a 35,000 square foot (350 seat) theater costing $13 million. The development site is adjacent to the historic Stuart Pharmaceutical building and is part of the transit-oriented development (TOD), The Stuart, which is an 188-unit apartment rental building.

I am particularly excited about this entire development (not only because Pasadena will gain such a respectable theater company), but because the theater will add a substantial presence to the Sierra Madre Villa station, giving transit users access to another wonderful place to visit. When the Gold Line Foothill Extension is completed, many people who live east of Pasadena (Arcadia, Monrovia, etc.) will also have transit access to this theater.

Now if only the rest of the Hastings Ranch shopping district could become more pedestrian oriented.

Renderings of new theater courtesy of John Berry Architects:

A rendering of the new 350-seat theater that will be the permanent home for the theater company, A Noise Within

The new theater will be adjacent to the historic Stuart Pharmaceutical building and 188-unit apartment complex, The Stuart


  1. I used to live two blocks from A Noise Within in Glendale, and have been impressed with the quality of their productions for almost 20 years. Now, like me, they have wised up and moved to Pasadena. :-) They put modern twists on Shakespeare and breathe new life into O’Neill, Dickens, Stoppard, Miller, the list goes on. Also, Glendale schoolkids have always made field trips there to learn about the classics, and now Pasadena students will have that opportunity. ANW’s cramped little space in Glendale has long cried out for expansion, and now they will have it. It’s like having South Coast Repertory suddenly move into your neighborhood. Very exciting, if you have any interest at all in the very best in drama.

  2. Why isn’t this theater company taking over the struggling Pasadena Playhouse??? Seems foolish to build a new theater in town when one is about to close because of lack of funding….

    Weird. Maybe I just don’t know enough about theater.

  3. Torn about this news. Love the new addition to our town, love new construction, especially love building out the areas around the gold line stops. I do have to wonder about the other theaters around town that are under-utilized though. Is it better overall to have them build a new theater or to support other struggling places?

  4. carter says

    Ben, I thought the exact same thought.
    Having a presence at the Sierra Madre Villa TOD is fine, yet having it in the playhouse district, as in at the playhouse itself, would even be better.

  5. i need a more developed train system before i move next to one. or a job close to a train line. lol.

  6. I’m guessing here, but since this transition has been in the works for quite some time (at least a year and a half, if not longer), ANW probably didn’t know that the Pasadena Playhouse space would become available when they signed the papers to renovate/develop the space in the Stuart Pharmaceuticals Building. Their move from Glendale was announced quite a while ago, while the Playhouse news is relatively recent.

  7. Jonathan says

    I believe that A Noise Within considers a “Thrust” stage (in which the audience surrounds the stage on three sides) to be an integral part of its identity, and the Pasadena Playhouse features a traditional “Proscenium” stage (audience in the front only, with the ability to lower a curtain), and it really could not be converted without destroying the Playhouse.

  8. WOW! Am I correct in understanding this complex is to be housed in the landmark Edward Durrell Stone-designed building? It’s one of his — if not THE — finest remaining works in LA/SoCal.

  9. Nick says

    It’ll be a new building, I think. All that’s left of the Stone is the breeze-way that’s visible in these pictures.

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