145 East Ojai Avenue,
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Serving the small community of slightly less than 10,000 people, the Isis Theatre was built by J.J. Burke and opened on August 19, 1914 with Jack London’s “Valley of the Moon”. In the early years the theatre also had vaudeville acts and moved the chairs aside twice a week for dancing.
The theatre was renamed Ojai Theatre in 1926, when it was purchased by Fred & Lidie Hart. Throughout the decades the theatre changed ownership and management several times. It was called Ojai Theatre until Wayne Glasgow took over management and reopened the theatre as the Glasgow Playhouse in 1966. It was remodeled to the plans of architect J. Arthur Drielsma and had a Scottish motif.
Glasgow sold the theatre to Khaled Al-Awar in 1983, who changed the name to Ojai Playhouse.
Mark & Kathy Hartley bought the theatre in 2007 and financed a major renovation of the old building. The Hartley’s have changed the name back to Ojai Theatre, though the marquee still calls it the Ojai Playhouse.
The Ojai Theatre generally screens first run movies, and has also been the venue for the Ojai Film Society screenings on Sunday afternoons since 1988, when foreign and independent films are shown. The theatre has been continuously run as a movie theatre, with only temporary closures from time to time, usually due to renovation or change of ownership.
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