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Though San Francisco deemed the structure of the iconic Castro Theatre a historical landmark back in 1977, the Castro Theatre Conservancy wants to ensure the venue space’s interior is protected, too.
The nonprofit organization launched its “Save the Castro Theatre” campaign on Wednesday to prevent future owners from removing the interior features that make up the theater’s historic character — specifically its orchestra seating and sloped floor.
The features are also listed in an expanded city landmark designation, proposed by District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.
Executive Director of CTC Peter Pastreich said San Francisco has the “most vibrant film culture in the country,” with the Castro being its “historic soul.” Removing the theater’s decorative walls and strategic seating levels would compromise the experience of its film presentations and community events, the organization said.
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“The CTC wants to see the Castro Theatre keep its historic orchestra seating and sloped floor, as both are essential to preserving the filmgoing experience,” Pastreich said. “In addition, we are working to ensure the many film festivals, luminaries of the world of cinema, LGBTQ+ and other community events are able to continue using the theater at affordable prices.”
The Castro Theatre has also served as a “ground zero” for LGBTQ+ performance art and culture, said Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
“It’s been my honor to attend premieres, and produce and host my own events and fundraisers there,” said Roma. “Do we really need another concrete concert hall when glamorous film houses are disappearing around the country? Absolutely not! It’s so important to preserve this historical treasure.”
More information on the conservancy’s work can be found at savethecastrotheatre.org.