Renovated Bayview Opera House looking forward to next 122 years

The Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre is a 2011 recipient of the Governor’s Historic Preservation Award. The 122-year-old Opera House, where Barbara Ockel is the interim managing director, recently underwent renovation as part of the Save America’s Treasures historic preservation project and was accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places.

Why is the Opera House significant to San Francisco’s history? It’s important for multiple reasons. It’s the oldest standing theater in San Francisco that survived the [1906] earthquake and the fire. Secondly, it is of great importance because of the location in the Bayview.

What was repaired as part of the restoration project? There were two physical features — one, the historic floor used to be a very ugly vinyl composite that covered up the original floor; two, an arch around the stage. The arch has an intricately painted design. The historic pattern was damaged with all kinds of cracks in the plaster.

What’s next? First of all, I would not say it has been fully restored; there are some elements that have been, but there’s much more that needs to be restored and improved.

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