El Campanil Theatre is in the Rivertown Business District of Antioch. Built, owned, and operated by Ferdinand Stamm and Ralph Beede, El Campanil Theatre officially opened its doors on November 1, 1928. Originally, the theatre offered 1,100 seats, 1 screen with "state-of-the-art" projection capabilities, and a stage with back stage areas to support vaudeville entertainment (a type of entertainment popular in the early 20th century, featuring specialty acts such as burlesque comedy and song and dance). El Campanil (meaning the tower of bells) features stunning Spanish architecture, along with a bell placed around the 3rd level of the building. It was often referred to as "the most pretentious building in Contra Costa County" by the news reports at the time of its opening. Some of the early performers include Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Sally Rand, Donald O'Connor, and Ted Lewis. The dressing room walls are covered with signatures from all the celebrities who have performed there over the years.
El Campanil Theatre Preservation Foundation (a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2002) received a grant and purchased the theatre. The theatre underwent a rehabilitation phase and was opened to the public on July 4, 2004. To this day, El Campanil Theatre hosts a wide variety of entertainment, including foreign and classic films, live theatre, concerts, ballet, comedy, and many other great events.
In 2016, “Sharknado” director Anthony C. Ferrante (an Antioch native) returned to film his “Forgotten Evil" thriller with scenes featuring El Campanil Theatre. The movie made its premiere on the Lifetime Movie Network in March 2017.
To find out more about the current shows at El Campanil Theatre, please click the links below.