UC Theatre

2036 University Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94704

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Foyer, UC Theatre, 1917

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

zombie1007
zombie1007 on December 15, 2007 at 7:44 pm

Here is an article I wrote about the u.c., I loved that place…

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putman
putman on March 10, 2008 at 7:51 am

Yeah, a great theatre.

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One that I miss daily.

putman
putman on September 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm

The UC is coming back to life, as a live music venue…
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juliagreen
juliagreen on March 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm

The UC was such a great place to see a film!
Growing up in 1970s Montana I did not have much of an opportunity to see anything but mainstream Hollywood movies. Moving to Berkeley in ‘86, it was the UC that made me a lover of the independent cinema. I too have been saddened when I have happened by there in recent years.

idjones942
idjones942 on December 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I’m curious to know if there are any photos of the inside of the house, prior to the fire in the 1940s?

bmsinmd
bmsinmd on March 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

I was so sad to learn of the demise of the UC. After my marriage ended and I became the sole parent of two adolescent boys, I began bringing them from Orinda to Berkeley 2 or 3 times a month. We discovered samurai movies together there: Zatoichi, the blind masseur swordsman, was our favorite. One evening I arrived to find a line for tickets clear around the block; the show was 47 Ronin, a samurai epic cherished in Japan. Also saw The Last Waltz and Woodstock there, discovered many rock performers thereby. Wonderful memories of the movies, esp. the audiences, and the ambience. My kids, now in their 40s, dearly remember those times too.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2011 at 2:32 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
ErinHaggerty on January 20, 2014 at 4:02 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
mlind on April 15, 2014 at 6:24 am

Plans to reopen as a music venue.

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/04/14/long-shuttered-uc-theater-to-get-new-marquee-and-new-life/

walterk
walterk on April 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

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.

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