The High Street Arts Center is a historic venue in Moorpark, California, that has been providing culture and entertainment for over 80 years. The first iteration of the El Rancho was built as a replacement after an old wooden structure housing silent movies gave way to its new brick building with classical revival styling on East High Street near the downtown area.
The El Rancho’s distinction was being one of, if not the only movie theater in all of east Ventura County. It closed its doors as an operating cinema around 1955 and was used for productions by both local schools and communities.
The history of the El Rancho is an interesting one, and it goes back to its inception in 1983. The Magnificent Moorpark Melodrama & Vaudeville Co., which opened in 1983 as a live event theater to provide audiences from all over Southern California with unique melodramatic offerings, had several owners through the 1980s and 1990s. The final owner closed down this venue, Doors finally shutting on its heels just before Christmas Eve 1999 because of financial difficulties despite having been open for many years.
In 2001, local resident and long-time movie theater owner Larry Janss bought the building with plans to renovate it into a cultural center. He reworked all of its interior spaces – from installing new lighting equipment in order for audiences can see what they’re watching on screen better; sound systems that are louder than ever before, so you’ll never miss any dialogue even if there’s an explosion happening right next door. After making this dream come true through his hard work–the Theater on High Street became a one-stop-shop location featuring classic films alongside live concerts or plays each week.
The High Street Arts Center has been a staple of the town since it first opened its doors decades ago. The renovations that Mr. Janss implemented while he renovated this landmark theater were not only beautiful but also cost less than expected, making him more confident about selling out to someone else who could continue using this space for performances and receptions alike.
The city of Moorpark was renamed a performing arts center downtown “High Street Arts Center.” They did this to show their commitment and dedication to making sure that historic High Street stays alive as an important part of town for years into the future. These name changes also took place during some really tough economic times, but it’s been worth every penny because now there are plans in motion that could lead us onto the new ground when considering what else might happen with these properties.
High Street Arts Center’s Address: 45 High Street, Moorpark, CA 93021.