Staff selects a preferred operator for the Cerrito Theater

City staff has recommended that the operator of Berkeley’s Elmwood Theater be chosen to run the Cerrito. City Manager Scott Hanin told the City Council/Redevelopment Agency Monday night about the staff’s choice. It will, of course, be up to the council/agency to make the final decision.

That is likely to take place at a public meeting dedicated to the matter Monday, June 29. The council is expected to hold a special meeting that night to consider a lease agreement with the selected operator. The time of the meeting is to be announced.

Friends of the Cerrito Theater will keep you informed; you can also visit the city’s website,

The Elmwood Theater is a well-run operation that features foreign and art films, though it is likely the company that runs the Elmwood, Rialto Cinemas, may vary its programming for the Cerrito. Rialto also runs a theater in Santa Rosa.

We believe the Cerrito will continue the model of selling food and beverages.

Three proposals were received by the city of El Cerrito from enterprises seeking to operate the historic Cerrito Theater. Although all the proposals should be considered public documents, they have not yet been made public. City officials say they hope to do so soon; the would-be operators have asked that they remain sealed.

In the meantime, supporters of the theater may want to tell members of the agency/council what they would like to see at the Cerrito, since negotiations are likely to occur between the city and the proposed operator or operators.

An operation that continues to sell food and beverages? More shows open to children? More classics and art films? Matinees? A Baby Brigade? Thrillville? Historical tours of the theater? Jazz concerts? Community events?

Here’s how to reach members of the Redevelopment Agency/City Council:
You can do this by sending an email to the entire council, plus the city manager, by copying and pasting these addresses:,,,,,

Sandia Potter, Mayor

Janet Abelson, Mayor Pro Tem

Ann Cheng, Councilmember
Redevelopment Agency Vice Chair

William C. Jones III, Councilmember
Redevelopment Agency Chair

Greg Lyman, Councilmember

Scott Hanin, City Manager

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