UC Theatre

2036 University Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94704

Unfavorite 13 people favorited this theater

UC Theatre

The UC Theatre was opened in 1917. The 1,300-seat UC Theatre closed in March 2001 after 84 years in business when the downtown art house was no longer able to survive on poor ticket sales.

An upcoming seismic retrofitting had been deemed too expensive by Landmark Theatres and its parent company, Silver Cinemas, which recently filed for bankruptcy. Already in debt and littered with unpaid bills, the UC Theatre could not afford the $300,000 retrofitting cost.

The only hope now is with the city of Berkeley itself, where the mayor is still looking into a plan to keep the theatre in business and, possibly, even renovate the structure.

Many local residents hope that Gary Meyer, who co-founded Landmark Theatres and ran the UC Theatre in the late-1970’s, will save the theatre and reopen it —a feat he accomplished with the Balboa Theatre in nearby San Francisco.

In March 2015, work began on a renovation/restoration project to convert the theatre into a live music venue which opened May 2016.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

The February, 1919, issue of The Architect and Engineer of California featured a portfolio of the work of James W. Plachek, architect of the UC Theatre. There are two exterior photos of the theater and, following a page of text, two interior photos depicting the foyer and lobby (scroll down.) Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on the + sign in the toolbar at the bottom right of the web page.

ErinHaggerty on January 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm

I loved/love the UC Berkeley. Many a great night was spent there..Harold & Maude, Road Warrior, etc. etc. And I loved the folks that worked there!

mlind on April 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Plans to reopen as a music venue.


walterk on April 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I’ve just uploaded a picture of the new marquee installed earlier this week, here is a link to the Berkeleyside article mentioned in a previous post, and this is a link to the nonprofit that will be running the UC when it reopens.

walterk on April 12, 2015 at 8:59 pm

The status of the UC should be changed to renovating and restoring, work began last month to convert it to a live venue, mostly featuring music. March began with a seat giveaway on the 1st, those interested were invited to come and help themselves to sets of seats, take as many as you can transport. Individuals and local organizations and businesses took away about 500. By the following Saturday, all the seats had been removed and on the 15th, official groundbreaking ceremonies were held and construction began, no opening date has been set yet.

Here is an article from Berkeleyside about the groundbreaking and other info.

The UC will be run by the Berkeley Music Group, a nonprofit organization headed by David Mayeri, which has a website here with loads of info and an interesting drone tour of the theatre. They also have a flickr page with tons of pictures in 8 albums, including historical pictures and shots from the seat giveaway. Unfortunately flickr does not permit embedding links, so this one you’ll have to cut and paste, sorry about that..


DavidZornig on July 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Print ad added.
Berkley California Daily Gazette-Tuesday July 8th, 1924 Edition. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Allan.

GaryMeyer on May 7, 2016 at 11:55 am

After some electrical problems that caused the grand-reopening of the U.C. Theatre to be delayed, the theater is up and running with a solid schedule of live music. Plans include some film showings, festivals and a revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show where the UC’s 22 year run was the longest continuously running engagement of any movie, anywhere.

Some photos of the first concerts http://www.theuctheatre.org/gallery/

GaryMeyer on May 7, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Cool drone flight video during remodel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEux2Qv8qSk

GaryMeyer on May 7, 2016 at 12:29 pm

And how do we show the theater as reopened here?

Check this article http://www.berkeleyside.com/2016/04/12/dark-star-orchestra-opens-revived-uc-theatre/

walterk on May 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm

Here’s a clickable link to the Berkeleyside article and here’s the drone tour!

I took some pictures of the auditorium about an hour after the final seats were removed last March, I’ll look through them and perhaps upload a few.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater