Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

On Tuesday, Another Planet Entertainment (APE) announced it will be hosting a town hall meeting about the upcoming changes to the historic 100-year-old Castro Theatre. The in-person town hall meeting will take place on Thursday, August 11 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m at the Castro Theatre. The event is free to the public.

Representatives from APE and the Nasser family, owners of the theatre, are expected to be in attendance. The meeting will start with a presentation by APE representatives.

A question-and-answer session moderated by BART director and former District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty will immediately follow the presentation. Dufty is currently a paid community outreach consultant for APE.


Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

 

“We will discuss the current conditions of the Castro Theatre and the repairs we have already made since January,” APE spokesperson David Perry told Hoodline. “Plus, our preservation plans and plans to modernize the mechanical and electrical infrastructure including ADA access.”

“And, of course we will discuss our ongoing diverse programming and events of special importance to the film and LGBTQ communities,” added Perry.

When asked if APE planned to broadcast the meeting online for anyone who cannot attend Perry said, “At the moment, there are no plans for a virtual component.”

While APE has hosted a handful of private meetings with community groups like the Castro Merchants and a closed-door meeting with District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, next month’s meeting will be the first public meeting.

Earlier this year it was announced that Another Planet Entertainment would be taking over the programming and overhauling the theatre, while ownership remains with the Nasser family and Bay Properties Inc.

Proposed renovations include removing the orchestra-level seats and replacing them with four tiered sections of platforms with removable seats; removing the lobby-area concession stand; expanding the women’s restroom; improving the ventilation and electrical systems; adding a ground-floor dressing room; and possibly adding an elevator with access from the lobby level up to the second floor.

Proposed standing room floor plan. | Image: Page-Turnbull/SF Planning

 

Neighborhood residents and groups including the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District continue to have questions and concerns about the future of the historic theater. Earlier this year, Greg Perloff, APE CEO and co-founder, addressed some of those concerns in an interview with Hoodline.

Improvements to the theatre have already begun by Oakland-based Neon Works including the repainting of the Castro Theatre marquee and restoration of the neon lights. Restoration work on the vertical blade will begin soon.

Last month APE applied for a conditional use permit with the SF Planning Department for a change of use at the Castro Theatre. APE has proposed formalizing the historic nighttime entertainment and bar uses at the theatre. 


Restoration work on the Castro Theatre marquee taking place in May. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

 

In May, District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman proposed expanding the landmark designation for the theatre, which would include the existing, orchestra-style seating.

Last month, the Castro Theatre Conservancy was formed specifically to thwart plans by APE to remake the interior of the historic Castro Theatre to be more conducive to live music events — and specifically the group wants to stop a plan to remove all the seats from the theater’s main level.

 

 



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