Renovated UC Theatre to have opening show this month

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Enrique Lopez/Staff

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The newly renovated UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall will have its opening show March 25.

Though originally scheduled to open in fall 2015, the theater’s opening was pushed to March. The ongoing renovations will be completed in time for the first show, said Chris Weir, social media manager at the UC Theatre.

The UC Theatre served as a movie theater until 2001, when it closed because of the high costs associated with completing a required seismic upgrade, according to the theater’s website. The new, reopened UC Theatre will be used mainly as a music venue but will have cinema capabilities and be available for private rentals, Weir noted.

The UC Theatre has collaborated with local businesses to sell their goods inside the theater and has communicated with them throughout the construction process, Weir said.

Nicolas Sanchez, owner of Platano Salvadoran Cuisine, believes that the theater is bringing additional business to the area by allowing for a greater influx of construction workers and passersby.

“We are excited — we will be partners in working as a vendor for them for any big events (where) we can feed their crew and crowd,” Sanchez said. “(People) get the chance to check us out, not only us, but also the other restaurants in the area.”

 Tsering Choedup, co-owner of Cafe Tibet, expressed dissatisfaction with the loud noise caused by the construction. He hopes, however, that once the construction is finished, “they’ll become positive in terms of the people visiting (our restaurant).”

The renovations process was aided by a matching grant of $1.3 million provided by Taube Philanthropies, according to Shana Penn, executive director of Taube Philanthropies. In response to the donation, the UC Theatre renamed the music center in honor of this donation, according to the Taube Philanthropies’ website.

“It’s great to support cultural developments like the UC Theatre in Berkeley at a time when its going through urban regeneration and cultural regeneration,” Penn said.

The UC Theatre will host the Concert Career Pathways program, which features workshops, internships and externships for young people in the East Bay. The program will give 17- to 25-year-olds the opportunity to run, manage and put on performances at the venue, Weir said.

The Berkeley Music Group is in charge of renovating and running the UC Theatre, according to the theater’s website.

“There’s no one in a better position or with better experience to run a project like this,” Penn said of David Mayeri, president of the Berkeley Music Group.

The UC Theatre hopes to bring a variety of benefits to the area, according to Weir.

“It’s the only venue of its size in the East Bay. … It’s opening up employment in that space, it’s bringing music to the town and it’s one step closer for people in the Central Valley to come to a show at that capacity,” Weir said.

Contact Alex Fang at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @alexfang_DC.