Presidio Theatre: Work in Progress
(San Francisco, CA) – The newly transformed Presidio Theatre on the Main Post of San Francisco’s historic Presidio will open to the public as a performing arts center in September featuring a 600-seat proscenium theatre with state-of the art technical equipment, a pavilion and courtyard for events, large rehearsal space and other amenities.
The Theatre is the result of a gift from the Margaret E. Haas Fund in collaboration with the Presidio Trust to restore and expand the facility and return it to the community for a wide variety of uses including live music, theater, dance, film, lectures and events. The facility will open to the public with a ticketed celebration on Saturday, September 21, at 7 pm and a free public open house with entertainment and tours on Sunday, September 22, from Noon to 5 pm. For information about the project and public opening events, visit: presidiotheatre.org
Peggy Haas, who envisioned, inspired and has overseen the project for more than four years says, “The restoration and transformation of this historic theatre in its breath-taking location is a gift to the people of San Francisco. Our arts and culture have defined who we are as Bay Area residents for generations—traditionalists, innovators and leaders—and it will be exciting to see what develops and flourishes here at the Presidio Theatre. We are thrilled to add another important and vibrant venue on the cultural map of the City.”
“The need for the Presidio Theatre comes at a great time in the Bay Area,” says Executive Director Robert Martin, who has previously presided over other significant arts center transformations including the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason in San Francisco and the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “San Francisco’s performing arts community and audiences—among the world’s most active and avid–have long needed a venue this size and we look forward to welcoming artists, organizations and the public to this dynamic new space.”
“Thanks to Peggy Haas’s vision and generosity, we are thrilled to put the beloved historic Presidio Theatre back into operation and bring much needed performance space to San Francisco,” says Jean Fraser, CEO of the Presidio Trust. “We look forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy our national park in a whole new way.”
The Presidio Theatre will be operated by an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It joins a growing community of arts and culture organizations that call The Presidio home, including the Walt Disney Family Museum and the San Francisco Film Centre, and other visitor amenities including two historic boutique hotels, multiple restaurants and recreational facilities in addition to access to nature through hiking and biking trails, beaches and overlooks.
Programming and Rentals at the Presidio Theatre
The Presidio Theatre will present and provide space for a diverse variety of music, theater, dance and film focusing on the rich talents and traditions of the Bay Area performing arts scene, which is one of the most vibrant and diverse in the US.
Established and emerging groups will take the stage in the inaugural 2019-2020 season, setting the tone for ongoing programs, including:
- Vodvil by Andrew Evans featuring classically modern magic, intimate illusions with contemporary roots in San Francisco’s Mission district;
- The Family Crest, reflecting the rich Bay Area independent music community;
- The premiere of a new silent film shot at the Presidio in partnership the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and the Presidio Trust;
- Innovative and renowned Grammy-nominated Latin jazz artist John Santos;
- Bay Area Theatresports and Imprō from Los Angeles;
- The premiere of Tattooed, a new flamenco performance-art work with a timely, powerful feminist message using traditional and contemporary movement, music and spoken word by Fanny Ara, Marina Elana and guest artist Yaelisa.
Details and dates of these and other presentations will be announced in the summer of 2019 in anticipation of the Presidio Theatre’s opening in September.
History of the Presidio Theatre
Built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and first opened in 1939, the Presidio Theatre was a hub of social life on the military base for nearly 60 years when it screened movies for service members and their families. It also hosted live performances by some of the biggest names in show business, including Bob Hope and Jack Benny. The Theatre is part of the Presidio’s National Historic Landmark District and is an intact example of Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture in the Presidio. It has been vacant since 1995.
The Presidio has undergone a rapid “Post-to-Park” transformation since the U.S. Army vacated in 1994 and the Presidio became a national park. The Presidio Theatre is one of the final buildings on the historic Main Post to be rehabilitated; other notable projects are the Montgomery Street Barracks, Presidio Officers’ Club, Presidio Bowling Center and the Presidio Visitor Center.
Features of the Revitalized Presidio Theatre
- completely updated 600-seat proscenium theatre space;
- new backstage spaces for performers;
- a state-of-the-art rehearsal space;
- catering facilities;
- an outdoor plaza for public events;
- easy access from downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge including via public transportation and the free PresidiGo shuttle.
Programming will feature a dynamic and eclectic mix of performing arts from the Bay Area and beyond, emphasizing collaboration, innovation and community.
The Presidio Theatre is now booking for performances and meetings. Please contact Robert Martin at RMartin@presidiotheatre.org for information.
For transportation information, visit: presidio.gov/transportation
About The Project Team
The Presidio Theatre transformation team includes The Presidio Trust, Margaret E. Haas Fund, Hornberger+Worstell Architect, Plant Construction Company LLP contractor, Knapp Architects, historic preservation, Paoletti Consulting, acoustic consulting, Auerbach Glasow French, lighting designer, and is supported by The Marin Community Foundation.
About the Presidio and the Presidio Trust
The Presidio Trust is a federal agency that manages the Presidio of San Francisco, a national park at the heart of the 82,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In partnership with the National Park Service and the non-profit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the Presidio Trust brings alive the park’s historic, natural, and recreational assets for the inspiration, education, health, and enjoyment of all people at no cost to taxpayers.
Spanning nearly 1,500 acres in a spectacular setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio is defined by its history, spectacular views, natural habitats, and beautiful opens spaces. It is home to 3,000 residents and 200 tenant organizations, many of which welcome and serve the public. The Presidio Trust is focused on welcoming all to the national park experience, protecting and enhancing the environment, and operating in service to the public. Learn more at www.presidio.gov.