Berkeley is about to get a fresh new music venue.
UC Theatre, a longtime movie theater built in 1917, famous for playing The Rocky Horror Picture Show twice a week for over two decades, had been sitting vacant for fourteen years until this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony.
In 2012, David Mayeri, President of the UC Music Group, formed a non-profit to renovate and run the new venue. Finally, three years later, it will see some updates. Essentially, the space will be converted from a movie theater to operate as an all-ages music venue. It will keep a capacity of about 1,400 with a full service bar, tables and chairs, and a Meyer Sound System.
As far as booked bands go, visitors can expect to see the caliber of acts that would perform at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
But the space, which will hold between 75-100 shows per year, won’t function solely as a music venue — according to Mayeri, it will also hold a “diverse range of entertainment”, including comedy shows, a live discussion series, and cultural events for the community.
In addition, the UC Theatre will offer paid creative, business, and technically-based internships offered to students aged 17-25 at local schools.
“The building has been empty for 14 years, so neighbors, local businesses, the city itself, the whole downtown are very excited about adding it to the arts and entertainment community,” Mayeri tells KCBS. “We’re very excited to be there.”
Go to their Flickr page to see more photos of the renovations, and listen to the interview below.