About US

How It All Began

The BTO Society, formally known as The Balboa Theatre Foundation was established in 1985. A small group of advocates led by Steve Karo and Jan Hicks Manos ( grand daughter of  William Hicks, the theatre's original builder) formed the Save Our Balboa Organization to lobby against destruction of the theatre and to support its restoration. The Save Our Balboa group garnered public support and eventually prevailed in a long and hard-fought effort to stop destruction of the theatre. The Save Our Balboa Organization developed into the Balboa Theatre Foundation which continued lobbying for restoration and in 1996, succeeded in listing the Balboa Theatre on the National Registry of Historic Places. After twenty years, CCDC did a turnaround and decided to fund a complete restoration which began in 2005. They not only funded, at a cost of $26.5 million, but superbly managed the project, working with restoration architects Westlake Reed Leskosky. The theatre re-opened in 2008 and is now a thriving venue for live theatre and concerts.

In 2009, after extensive renovation, the Balboa Theatre Foundation rededicated a 1929 Wonder Morton Organ, one of only four such organs in the world. Today the magnificent "Wonder" Morton Organ finds its home at the historic Balboa Theatre.