Posted on 24 February 2014 by La Habra Journal
By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal
It has been nearly a year since the lights faded on the last production at the La Habra Depot Theater. Since then, Whittier Christian students have cleaned, painted and organized the city-owned facility, but it has remained empty.
However, the city is looking to find an occupant for the city’s iconic theater. “We’d like to get someone in there who will work with the community and offer the community some great shows,” said David De Leon, La Habra’s Recreation Manager. DeLeon explained that the city is currently accepting applications and proposals from local theater groups to operate the historic, 135-capacity venue and produce quality shows on a regular basis. Interested groups are encouraged to submit a proposal to the Recreation Department by Thursday, March 6, at 4 p.m. Application packets can be picked up by contacting David De Leon at (562) 384-4306. As for what they are looking for in a future tenant, aside from professionalism and ability to manage and run shows from beginning to end, De Leon said he is hoping that the new people look to incorporate the community more, such as having children’s theater programs and working with the three local high schools. The previous, all-volunteer group that operated the theater, had difficulty raising money and were unable to pay its bills, so the city terminated its contract with the group last March. City officials are hopeful that the next group that comes in will be more successful.
The historic building was built in 1908 as the Pacific Electric Depot to haul citrus fruit as well as the walnuts growing in the southern part of the valley. The railroad was also used to haul equipment to the newly-developed oil lands in this area. It was renovated into a Community Performing Arts Facility in 1909 and moved across Euclid to Portola Park.