This story is brought to you by UC Theater Taube Family Music Hall.
After an 18-month pandemic-induced closure, the doors of UC Theater reopened on September 5, thanks to donor and city support – and we’ve hosted over 50 performers in the past three months. With strong COVID-19 security procedures in place, so many happy people gather at every show, smiling under the protection of their face masks.
This joy was especially noticeable during our Dia de los Muertos show on November 2 when a pair of spectators gathered on stage and, to everyone’s surprise, one of them knelt down. This moment of tenderness quickly turned into celebration when the performers, La Santa Cecilia, invited them to stay on stage for their first dance as a newly engaged couple.
The reopening brought us precious moments and incredible evenings, including performances by Lawrence, New Found Glory, The Black Dahlia Murder, Bayside, Social Distortion, Thrice, JJ Gray & Mofro, Japanese Breakfast and Kolohe Kai. We all enjoyed this magical interaction between audience and artist that only happens during a live concert.
But the reopening also brought challenges: the lingering uncertainty of the pandemic and fluctuations in public health precautions; the logistics of checking each client’s proof of vaccine before the shows. We, too, miss the good old days when we didn’t have to worry about deadly viruses, but we are committed to creating a safer environment for everyone to have fun.
Some of our security efforts were simplified when the City of Berkeley required that all concert halls with a capacity of more than 1,000 people require proof of vaccination from clients, rather than accepting negative test results. . Fortunately, the majority of our viewers were not affected by Berkeley’s vaccine-only mandate: even before the mandate, 98% of people coming to UC Theater were fully vaccinated. The ordinance went into effect in mid-October, causing backlash from people unable or unwilling to be vaccinated, some of whom had purchased tickets before the policy was put in place. Many of those who were frustrated became understanding when they were told about the local mandates, and some even refused a full refund, donating the value of their ticket to our education program, Concert Career Pathways.
UC Theater community engagement manager Monica Motta, who has been present at every show since it reopened, says that at least once per show, patrons will approach her and express their gratitude and relief for the rigor of our vaccine control and will tell him that it helps them feel comfortable going into the theater.
With solid precautions in place, the fun continued. On Halloween, we hosted a sold-out screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, featuring the cast of Bay Area Barely Legal. Before our building was turned into a concert hall, it was a movie theater that staged the country’s second longest streak of the Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screenings, lasting 22 years, until in January 1999. Now we keep this tradition alive every Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Audience members and cast members wear hot, steamy costumes, and the cast runs the whole theater in a real to live.
“What an unforgettable night! It was nothing that I interacted with before because we had to throw things around and scream and scream things at the movie. I felt like I was on stage with them. Doing it once makes you want to go back, and I feel like it’s going to become a tradition with my friends, ”a participant named Jessica wrote on social media. Mark your calendars for The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Valentine’s Day 2022.
The crazy fun of The Rocky Horror Picture Show brought a great sense of catharsis – and a relief that the rowdy event had happened. At the start of our reopening, there were concerts that had been postponed or canceled due to various causes that were difficult to predict. Travel restrictions have fluctuated, with the exception of some international performers. In other cases, crew members fell ill with COVID-19 and were quarantined. But announcements of emissions changes have improved exponentially over the past two months as people continue to get vaccinated and remain cautious.
The safety, comfort and long-term happiness of our community members remain our highest priorities. Navigating the challenges of COVID-19 is worth it when we witness the joy of onlookers who waited almost two years to join their favorite group, amidst a sea of people. We owe everything to those who supported us throughout the pandemic, without whom we would not be here today. UC Theater owes its success as an independent, not-for-profit music venue to community-minded individuals with a big philanthropic heart who invest in our success. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the community support we have.
It’s finally time to gather your friends and family and enjoy the magic of live music. We look forward to seeing you all soon as we continue to announce incredible shows on our 2022 schedule.
This story was written and funded by The UC Theater Taube Family Music Hall, whose mission is to present a dynamic range of live performances to advance the appreciation of music, culture and education in the region. from the bay.