For media inquires, please contact Kerry Miller, (805) 640-0262,
After over 30 years of running the Ojai Playhouse, owners Khaled and Walid Al-Awar are looking to retire. The theater has been an important family business for many years. Khaled’s three children all worked at the theater as they grew up and went to school in Ojai, as did Walid’s son, and their niece and nephews. “I remember one summer just before high school my father put my older cousin and me in charge of the entire business from managing our one employee, to selling the tickets and running the show, to keeping the theater clean and stocked,” says Tania Parker, Khaled’s oldest daughter. “It taught us a great deal about responsibly, even if we didn’t realize it at the time.”

Having a passion for films since he was a child, Khaled renovated and reopened the Ojai Playhouse after its being closed and in for many years when he first moved to Ojai over 35 years ago. Today, he still loves film and believes the community of Ojai deserves a movie theater in their town. But after a long four-year legal battle with Golden State Water, he is ready to move on. Nearly 70, Khaled is looking to retire and spend more time with his grandchildren. “It was a difficult decision deciding to put the theater up for sale. We considered keeping it in the family, but all of our kids are grown and have their own careers,” says Khaled. “But we still want this town to have its movie theater back. This is why we have put a clause in the sale contract that whoever purchases it must keep it a movie theater. This theater has been an important part of our family and our community for many years and we hope it will continue to be for many more.”

“So many of my friends remember watching their first movie in our theater, and so many of them have missed taking their kids to their first movie in our Ojai theater with it being closed for so long. We can’t wait to have our theater back and we hope that someone with as much love and passion for both film and the community takes it over,” says Parker. The Ojai Playhouse has been closed for four years this July after a water main burst, flooding the interior of the theater in 2014—on its 100

th anniversary year. Construction finally began in earnest in January, after money was received from a victory in the lawsuit against Golden State Water.

Almost all of the settlement money the Al-Awars received is going toward repairing the theater, paying legal fees, and repaying bills and loans that accumulated over past four years while the business was closed. “While $3.8 million sounds like a large sum of money, when you are talking about repairs this extensive and such a long legal battle, I think in the end the Al-Awars will just about break even,” says lead contractor Kerry Miller. The Al-Awar Family remains 100% committed to restoring and opening the theater for the community until someone new is ready to carry on the tradition. “We are so grateful for the community and the support you have given us. We are eternally indebted to our attorneys.

They fought on our behalf like lions, and without them Ojai would not have its theater back. We are not leaving Ojai as some have suggested, we are simply ready to enjoy it in our senior years,” commented Khaled Al-Awar.

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