Bayview Opera House
Constructed in 1888, the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre (known affectionately as "the Opera House" or the "BVOH") is located at 4705 Third Street in the heart of the Bayview Hunters Point district - San Francisco's most ethnically diverse community. The Opera House is San Francisco's oldest theater and a registered historical landmark. However, the Opera House is more than just a building. Operated as a community cultural and arts center by the nonprofit Bayview Opera House, Inc., with funding from the San Francisco Arts Commission and public and private donations, the Opera House serves as a community institution for Bayview residents and holds a significant place in the history and culture of Bayview Hunters Point.
The Opera House currently provides arts education and cultural enrichment to San Franciscans on a low or no cost basis. Recent offerings include adult drama, dance and yoga classes, DARE TO DREAM ARTS school age after school classes, toddler and parent/toddler classes, and an 8-week long summer arts cam.. The Opera House also hosts a large variety of cultural events, community gatherings and seasonal celebrations. 
4705 Third Street, San Francisco
- (415) 824-0386
Dates of Operation
Type of Space
community cultural and arts center
Additional Information and Resources
"The current board, Bayview Opera House Inc., began running programs from the facility in 1989 with a commitment to providing quality programs to the community." It was used as a community social hall by Masons before 1968 and on 1968 there was the first theatrical performance at Opera House sponsored by the Equal Opportunities Council."
About This Article
As part of Take This Hammer: Art + Media from the Bay Area, curated by Christian L. Frock for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (March 11 – August 14, 2016) the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism developed a timeline for the Bay Area’s history of art and media activism. On display in the YBCA gallery, the timeline is represented as a collection of one hundred and twenty stories arranged like a row of books on a library shelf. Starting with “SHELLMOUNDS,” the earliest evidence of human settlement in Bay Area, each title represents a creative work, event, organization, movement, history or biography that has played a role in shaping the particular qualities of Bay Area art and media activism.
In trying to survey our past, these are just a few of the countless stories we have to draw upon. We cannot tell them all since not all books will fit on one shelf. However, we hope that viewers will enjoy browsing this collection and be reminded of the deep roots of creativity, diversity, love and political liberation that have made the Bay Area so special. We have made our selections in the spirit of James Baldwin and Take This Hammer in order to highlight stories of uncompromising clarity and courageous artistic vision.
About this Article
This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.
- http://bvoh.org/aboutUs/index.shtml, 6-26-15