The recently restored 1936 art deco Lark Theater
These days, so many theaters are in a mall and have six screens. Gone are the days of red velvet curtains and seats, gold filigree trim and art deco glass light fixtures that formerly graced the movie houses of old.
But in downtown Larkspur, patrons can step inside the historic Lark Theater and go back in time to the elegant experience that used to be the movies. It’s as if it’s actually 1936, when the theater was new. Because in a way, it is.
In 2004, in a classic Cinderella story, Bernice Baeza, Heidi Hillenbrand and a determined group of volunteers saved the crumbling Lark Theater from demolition. They restored the theater to its original 1936 majesty—red velvet curtains, art deco details, lighted marquee and all.
They made the theater even better with behind-the-scenes upgrades, including state-of-the-art sound and visuals. And, in 2012, Ellie Mednick took the reins as manager and modernized the business side of it, professionalizing the staff, expanding the programming and even bringing in the Mill Valley Film Festival.
The theater website notes, “Our success is an example for small towns everywhere to save their rapidly disappearing local historic theaters, and with them, a unique neighborhood experience.”
And the programming at the Lark is stellar. From first-run to independent, and foreign to classic, the Lark features a wide variety of films. Add to this the unique live broadcasts that include the Met Opera, the Australian Ballet and Masters of Broadway, and it’s apparent Larkspur has a cultural resource that really can’t be matched anywhere else.
Programming coming up in August includes: National Theater Live presents Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing; David Hockey at the Royal Academy of Arts; and Frida Khalo, a film exploring the life and art of the beloved icon.
So get some popcorn and enjoy the show!
The Lark Theater is located at 549 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. 415.924-5111. Larktheater.net.