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SF’s Historic Castro Theatre Reopens April 18

While waiting to see if it will be allowed to move forward with renovations, the Castro reopens with 10 events scheduled including a free movie day on May 21st.
By - posted 4/17/2023 No Comment

After being closed for three months San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre is set to reopen on April 18, 2023, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding its future and potential changes to its permanent “raked floor” seating.

The theater, originally built in 1922, has been closed since mid-January 2023 while it awaits a decision on whether or not they can make renovations to the theater. There is a Land Use meeting on April 17th which started at 1:30pm

UPDATECastro Theatre renovation faces setback in key S.F. hearing – SF Chronicle 4/17/23

The reopening will kick off April 18th with an SFFILM festival documentary screening about legendary folk singer Joan Baez, followed by a slate of events, including a screening by the SFFILM Festival, an evening with Jane Fonda on June 1st, and a partnership with Movies for Maniacs showcasing a collection of classic double features in 35mm with Q&A sessions featuring special guests.

Free Movie Day Coming in May
In addition to these events, the theater is hosting a free movie day on May 21, 2023, to celebrate two twentieth-century trailblazers with a dual screening of ‘The Times of Harvey Milk’ and ‘The Ruth Brinker Story’ in honor of Harvey Milk Day. The screenings will be accompanied by a live pre-screening concert by David Hegarty, Castro Theatre Organist.

The Times of Harvey Milk & The Ruth Brinker Story
Sunday, May 21, 2023 – FREE
– 12:30pm – Doors Open
– 1:00pm – David Hegarty, Castro Theatre Organist
– 1:15pm – 2:45pm – The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) 1h 30m
– 2:45pm – 3:05pm – The Ruth Brinker Story (2022) 23m


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But it’s unclear how long this will last. The Castro wants to make changes to its seating, replacing the traditional movie-theater style fixed seating on a sloped floor with more flexible tiered concert-style seating similar to the Fox Theater in Oakland and the Warfield that will allow the theater to not only show movies, but also host concerts and private events. Although this change is supported by the Castro Merchants association there are many organizations that oppose the change fearing that the Castro will cease to benefit the local LGBTQ+ community and start to focus more on being a concert venue.

Castro Theatre 2023 Schedule Highlights
Updated as of 4/17/23 – Subject to change

  • Tue. April 18, 2023 – SFFILM Festival – Joan Baez (5p) + Centerpiece (7p)
  • Fri. April 28, 2023 – The Bay Area Moth Grandslam (8p)
  • Sat. April 29, 2023 – The Live Nude Girls Tour (8p)
  • Sun. May 21, 2023 – FREE – The Times of Harvey Milk + The Ruth Brinker Story – Free Movie Day (1p)
  • Tue. May 23, 2023 – FREE – Memorial for Heklina (8p) – Tickets Required
  • Sat., May 27, 2023 – Movies for Maniacs: Dolly Parton Double Feature (6p)
  • Thu. June 1, 2023 – An Evening with Jane Fonda
  • Sat. June 3, 2023 – Movies for Maniacs: What’s Up Doc? & Yentl (6p)
  • Sat. June 10, 2023 – Movies for Maniacs: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (7p)
  • Thu, Sept. 28, 2023 – Michelle Buteau (7p)
  • See the full schedule

To try to win over the community, Another Planet Entertainment (APE), who is programming the Castro. is pledging that 33% of all programming will be devoted to film screenings and film festivals and at least 25% of its programming hosted by LGBTQ+ organizations and artists along with establishing a grants program to help subsidize performing LBGTQ+ artists, filmmakers, and local community groups.

The next major hurdle is a joint hearing of San Francisco’s Planning and Historic Commissions, planned for May 18, 2023 at 1:30pm at City Hall.

If/when the new flooring is approved, APE estimates it will take about 6-9 months to complete the renovations. In the meantime, events will go on with concerts and movie nights scheduled from April 18 through June 10, 2023 and with one far-off show scheduled in late September.

Read more about the controversy at Hoodline, or read more from Save the Castro Theatre the Castro Theater’s latest Community Benefits Package and their renovation plans


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