There’s a new venue in the Bay Area—and it’s truly one of a kind. Allow us to introduce you to The UC Theatre in Berkeley, California. The theater has a rich history, opening in 1917 as a first-run movie theater, and operated as a 1,466 seat theater until 2001.
The movie theater became particularly well-known locally for their late night runs of Rocky Horror Picture Show, the cult classic that has made viewing the movie an event for many of its fans. The Berkeley based run is widely credited for kicking off the subculture that has evolved around the movie. Because of this and other moments in its storied history, the actual building was designated a landmark by the City of Berkeley a year after it ceased day-to-day operations.
And while the venue is steeped in rich cultural history, the reason it is so special today is because of the venue’s second chapter. In 2012, David Mayeri, the former Bill Graham Presents COO, formed a 501(c)(3) to renovate and run The UC Theatre called The Berkeley Music Group. The non-profit’s mission statement is, throughout the renovation and to this day, to “present a vibrant and diverse range of live performances to advance the understanding and appreciation of music, culture and education in the Bay Area.” The UC Theatre reopened in 2016 as a music and performing arts venue.
The end goal of the non-profit is to serve the music community by educating and training youth, especially people aged 17 to 25, through arts and concert career educational training. Graduates of the program will be introduced to a number of Bay Area venues for employment opportunities. In addition, the opening of The UC Theatre will add 150 new jobs in the music industry to the Bay Area. Talk about music growth.
It is important to note that while The UC Theatre is dedicated to improving the arts and music community through youth development, they also operate as a full-scale music venue.
The venue is one of a kind, a 1,400 capacity, general admission, multi-tiered, all-ages music venue with a state-of-the-art Meyer Leopard sound system and a full service bar. The venue books local, national, and international acts of all genres, including “indie rock, alternative, blues, folk, bluegrass, rock, EDM, Latin, Brazilian, jazz, R&B, soul, reggae, Afro-beat, hip-hop, electronic, and more.”
All this takes place in the beautifully renovated space that preserves many of the historic details of the original movie theater, including their many chandeliers and the building’s unusual U-shape.
Check out the many events upcoming on their calendar. And think about it this way, heading to see a show at The UC Theatre is helping out the development of the future of the East Bay’s music scene!
The UC Theatre
2036 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
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