~ RENTING THE THEATERS ~
The BERKELEY COMMUNITY THEATER and FLORENCE SCHWIMLEY LITTLE THEATER are available to rent on SATURDAYS during the school year, with a few caveats. First priority for both spaces is given to Berkeley High School and School District users. The good news? Berkeley High School has a robust performing arts schedule and most performances are open to the general public. Please consider supporting these young artists by attending a performance.
~ IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS FOR RENTAL REQUESTS ~
For outside users, theater booking requests are handled on a first come first served basis, and are subject to BOTH space availability and staff schedules. You may initiate questions or request additional information about the theaters (published rules, rates, etc.), via email, however, RENTAL DATES/REQUESTS INITIATED VIA EMAIL WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. You must use the External User Booking form to formally request use/rental of the theater(s).
All rental requests must be received at least 120 DAYS BEFORE THE FIRST REQUESTED DATE OF USE. Requests received within 120 days of that date WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. Please click on the “Calendar of Events” tab for a current schedule of events and potentially available dates for both theaters. Both the Community Theater and the Little Theater are Union venues. Renters are required to use union stagehands supplied by IATSE Local 107 for all technical aspects of the event.
Under the “FORMS” tab there is a link which will give you access to a Theater Booking Inquiry form. By filling out this online form you can initiate a rental inquiry for either theater. The form asks for some basic information about your organization, the type of event, the date(s) being requested and which space you are interested in booking. Once again, phone calls & emails are not accepted for booking requests. Remember, you must complete this form at least 120 days before your requested date of use, no exceptions.
If you are interested in renting one of the theaters for an event, the best time of year to consider (i.e. when there is greatest availability), is when school is not in session ~ over the summer, mid June to mid August. Currently, the theaters are closed on all major school & national holidays ~ MLK, Jr. Day, President’s Day & Lincoln’s Birthday, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day after, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day (as observed), New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (as observed). Other dates during the school year may be available. Please check the calendar first for these potentially open dates. Available dates that fall during the regular school year are not guaranteed. School and district events are always prioritized over outside uses.*
~ THEATER CAPACITIES ~
The Berkeley Community Theater can accommodate no more than 200 persons in the backstage areas (performers, crew, staff, security, etc.). The Florence Schwimley Little Theater can accommodate up to 35 persons. These numbers represent the maximum number of people allowed in the backstage areas – dressing rooms, green rooms, holding rooms, backstage & on stage – during an event. Performances which include large instruments (orchestras, bands) where the instruments are not kept onstage the entire time, will have less room and will therefore need to adjust their numbers accordingly. If you have questions about capacity, please contact the Theater Manager before submitting any rental forms.
*A complete list of the Rules of Use can be found under the “RULES & RATES” tab, which also contains more info about required paperwork & deadlines. Please read the rules document in its entirety before requesting use of the theaters.
~ OTHER IMPORTANT GUIDELINES ~
Both theaters are located on the campus of Berkeley High School. As such, the operation of the theaters must adhere to California Education Code standards for school facilities, and the theaters are not available for external use during the regular school day.
Alcohol, drugs, weapons, and smoking (including “E-cigarettes” and vapor pens) are never permitted at any event on school grounds, including events held in the theaters.
PLEASE NOTE: BOOKING EITHER OF THE BHS THEATERS REQUIRES MORE LEAD TIME THAN IS INDICATED IN THE DISTRICT GUIDELINES FOR OUTSIDE RENTAL REQUESTS.