MOORPARK : Reinforcement Sought for Theater

Linda Bredemann, who owns the Magnificent Moorpark Melodrama & Vaudeville Co. theater on High Street, loves old things.

Her passion for antiques has sparked a drive to raise $100,000 for earthquake reinforcement of the theater building, which was built as a silent movie house in 1928, the Moorpark resident said.

Bredemann, 40, said Moorpark officials have given her until October, 1993, to repair the 306-seat theater. Installing steel beams in the walls and roof to reinforce the brick structure against earthquakes will cost at least $100,000, Bredemann said.

The repairs are expected to make the building strong enough to remain standing for 15 minutes during a major earthquake, which would give theatergoers that much time to escape, she said.

The repair work "isn't any improvement that can generate extra money," said Bredemann, who founded the theater company 10 years ago.

But "the theater is an old theater. It in itself has character," she said. "The light fixtures are the same as they were in 1928."

Since she began raising money in the fall, she has received support from Ventura County residents who told her that they went to silent movies at the theater during the Depression era, Bredemann said.

Bredemann's fund-raising efforts have included raising ticket prices from $10 to $12. In addition, she has been selling special $300 tickets that include admission to all performances for the next three years. Ticket buyers also get to see their names on a plaque in the theater lobby, she said.

So far, she said she has sold 33 of the special tickets, raising about $10,000. Her next step is to try to refinance the building, she said.

"It's got to get done," Bredemann said of the repair work. "My problem is just finding a loan in time."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
67°