Strand American Conservatory Theater (ACT)
1127 Market Street,
11 people favorited this theater
Previously operated by: Grauman
Previous Names: Jewel Theatre, Sun Theatre, College Theatre, Francesca Theatre, Strand Theatre
News About This Theater
- Mar 2, 2012 — A.C.T. saves Strand
- Apr 4, 2011 — A retrospective of the theater "ghosts" that haunt SF neighborhoods
This theatre opened on October 27, 1917 as part of the Grauman chain. It had 725 seats. It changed hands shortly thereafter and would change hands again in 1925 and 1939.
The West Side Theatre Company operated the Strand Theatre from 1940-1977. With the advent of television in the 1950’s and Market Street starting to decline in the 1960’s, the attendance at the theatre dropped (along with a change in the audience). Programming was triple bills, changed daily, with nightly bingo games.
Mike Thomas and a partner bought the Strand Theatre in 1977. (Thomas would also acquire and operate several other Market Street theatres around this time: the Warfield Theatre, the Crest Theatre, and the Embassy Theatre. He would later start up the independent film distributor Strand Releasing.) Thomas redid the theatre and hired security to help clear out undesirables. In June 1977, Thomas reopened the Strand Theatre with a revival of the Howard Hughes production of “The Outlaw” (which premiered originally down the street in 1943 at the United Artists Theatre aka Market Street Cinema). The show sold out and the Strand Theatre would become a well-known venue for revival cinema. The Strand Theatre also became a popular venue for midnight showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
The mid-1980’s took a toll on the Strand Theatre. Home video took a bite into the revival theatre business. Market Street would decline further. Then the October 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake would cause the Strand Theatre to close temporarily. (Its neighbor, the Embassy Theatre, wasn’t so lucky, as it was too badly damaged to reopen.) When the Strand Theatre reopened, it was sold to Silver Screen Amusements. (Thomas would still book the theatre.)
In June 1994, the Strand Theatre closed, only to reopen weeks later as a porn theatre showing projected video. The theatre deteriorated even further as it became a haven for crack dealers and hookers. Finally, in early-2003, the city of San Francisco would raid the theatre and shut it down for good. This was also the end to theatres that showed movies on Market Street.
In February 2012, the American Conservatory Theater announced plans to to reopen the Strand Theatre as a 300-seat live theatre. It reopened as a live theatre with 285 seats and a black box theatre with 120 seats in July 2015, known as the Strand American Conservatory Theater (ACT).
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