San Ramon has long envisioned a performing arts center within the City limits. Several designs, concepts and plans have been created over the last twenty years. According to the AMS Planning & Research study conducted in August of 2000, there is a strong desire in the community for a performing arts venue in San Ramon. It was suggested at that time that the local community could support a 600 seat theatre, along with a 175 seat Black Box/Rehearsal space.
In 2002, the City of San Ramon adopted a Five Year Cultural Arts Plan which called for emphasis on cultural art classes, arts education, increased marketing for the arts, developing a cultural arts identity and creating support for local artists and performers in the community. Signature programs for San Ramon such as the Art & Wind Festival, Black & White Party, Concerts in the Park, and the California Symphony have had a regional draw while the Symphonic Band, Community Theater , Youth Symphony and Community Chorus started small and have grown into much anticipated community programs.
The opportunity to develop a theatre in partnership with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and the developers of the Dougherty Valley provided a unique opportunity to fill the need for a state-of-the-art performance space in the community and enhance the educational opportunities for local students. With the 90 seat Front Row Theatre (which opened in 2005) less than 1 mile from the new Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center, the original vision is now complete. The Performing Arts Center at Dougherty Valley High School includes a 600 seat theater with full stage, lobby, restrooms, City office, dressing rooms, and a 3,500 square foot rehearsal room. The rehearsal room is designed to accommodate both City and school district rehearsals as it duplicates the size of the main stage, leaving the theater for actual performances. Partnership and collaboration between the City and the school district has helped leverage limited resources and provide much needed amenities to the residents of San Ramon and the Tri-Valley area.