Family Fun Spotlight

Delta Theater

Delta Theater

A Downtown Brentwood Icon

When the Delta Theater opened its doors in the 1930s, it was in the midst of The Great Depression. While the majority of the country didn’t have the means to be spending extra money on activities deemed frivolous, the Delta Theater didn’t open and then close its doors immediately. The community supported it enough that it survived the longest and deepest downturn in our economy. “I think that’s really a testament to what theaters do,” said Delta Theater Operator, Josh Caudle. “For me, as a kid, my grandmother always took me to the movies, and it was an escape. Especially these days, people need a break.”
             
Originally the theater had just one single screen, but at some point in the 90’s, the room was cut in half width-wise to make two theater rooms. Over the years, Delta Theater became a beloved downtown destination for all ages. Unfortunately, when COVID hit, like other businesses, the theater shut down and has not reopened since. “It’s been over a year since we started working on improving the theater,” said Josh. “I admit, we’re taking a while, but we wanted to make sure it was done right.” Josh and his team have been working tirelessly to update the Delta Theater without completely removing its early 1900s charm. “We still have the original stage from the 1930s and plan to bring it back, along with a proper curtain to cover the screen, so that we can host live performances and events during the week.”

The revamped theater will still have the two viewing rooms with approximately 100 seats in each, but the seating availability will be hybrid. Customers will have the ability to choose between either a recliner or a loveseat design, both upholstered, brand new from the factory, as well as have the option to sit off to the side in a more private location for date nights. Seating will be reserved for viewers’ convenience. “We don’t want it to be cookie cutter like most other theaters. We’re trying to do everything differently and better.” The screens will also be larger in size, and the surround sound will be drastically enhanced. “One of the best sound companies, Meyer Sound based in Berkeley, was used in George Lucas’ entire studio at the Presidio,” said Josh. “He had just redone his theater room and then closed down two months later. We have purchased those exact speakers to go into the front theater room. The acoustics are incredible. The experience is going to be superior.” One aspect of the movie-going experience that always perplexed Josh was the need for black floors. “You can’t see in the dark, so I think we’re going to do gold floors, since we have gold in other aspects of the original design, and that way it will provide a little more light to get in and out of your seats. Follow the yellow brick road to your seat.”

Not only will the theater rooms be more accommodating, but the restrooms will also be a vast improvement from past designs. The bathrooms have been expanded with fully closing entrance doors, which Josh deems as a hugely upgraded experience. Food options will return to real ingredients, including the REAL butter on the freshly popped popcorn. Soda variety will not boast either of the popular heavyweights: Pepsi or Coke. Josh opted for Alameda Soda due to its local origin and use of pure cane sugar. “They make a mean ginger beer,” said Josh. There will be a selection of local beer and wine, as well as kitchen food such as pizzas. “They will be made fresh on the premises, not frozen and reheated. You will be able to order it ahead of time, before you arrive, and receive a text when your order is ready.”
             
Josh is on a mission to accommodate as many of the public’s desires and needs as possible. He hopes to bring back student discounts, perhaps during late weekend showings, so they have something safe and fun to do with friends. Another option would be a half priced day during the week to help the movie-going experience be accessible for everyone. Fundraising opportunities will be available for 501c(3) organizations as well. “We really want to be a community resource and destination for everything,” said Josh. “Our small but dedicated staff will really focus on providing top tier customer service and will be available to assist visitors to their seats or help with a seat upgrade on the spot. We want to help make memories.”

Being in the heart of downtown, the Delta Theater is sure to become a staple for current and future generations to come. “There are countless communities that have a nice theater that is long since closed due to differing hardships,” said Josh. “Brentwood doesn’t face those challenges. I think Brentwood is just special enough to see this new theater flourish. Our focus is to work together with the community as much as possible and to provide a safe space for all ages. You see all of the kids riding their bikes around here; we still have a nice, safe little downtown where parents feel at ease sending their kids, and kids actually feel welcomed.”
             
Delta Theater plans to reopen in Spring 2024.

 
Address: 641 First Street, Brentwood, CA 94513
Contact: (925) 240-7335
Website: www.deltatheater.com

 

by Michelle Lassle
photos by Sara Jean Photography & provided by Our Town Brentwood Ca
Property of the East Contra Costa Historical Society

 

 

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Brentwood is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nine-county Bay Area and offers a strategic location that connects: the SF Bay Area, Central Valley, Tri-Valley, and Sacramento Delta.

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