PITTSBURG – City officials got word this week that $400,000 from the state is headed to Pittsburg’s California Theatre, which has been closed and undergoing construction to add balcony seating.
The money was included in the state budget passed last week, at the request of state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa). The funds will be used to update the theatre marquee and provide dressing room facilities below stage. These features will expand the scope of the City’s current renovation project, which will add more than 100 seats to the theatre balcony.
Mayor Merl Craft said the extra state support is especially welcome after the severe impact of COVID-19 pandemic on live theater venues, performers and restaurants downtown that do a lively business when there’s a performance at the theater.
“The California Theatre is a landmark in this community, and this support will help us make it even better,” she said. “We truly appreciate Senator Glazer stepping up for us when the opportunity was there. This will make a difference.”
The balcony project is financed with a $1 million donation from the John H. and Regina K. Scully Foundation to the Pittsburg Arts and Community Foundation. The City is overseeing design and construction of the construction project, which will now include an update to the historic theatre marquee and improvements below stage. Work is scheduled to be complete later this year.
The historic California Theatre is a 330-seat theatre located at 351 Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg’s downtown. The City’s $8 million renovation of the former vaudeville theater property was complete in 2013, and won a Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation. The additional seating and other improvements will attract bigger acts and audiences once the theater resumes full operation.
The California Theatre has hosted summer drama camps for kids, films, as well as concerts and comedy shows by George Lopez, Sinbad and other top entertainers. The theater is also the home venue for Pittsburg Community Theatre drama troupe.