The State Theatre in Boyertown, which celebrated its 110th anniversary last year, has launched a new project to renovate its seating to improve the experience for patrons.
State Theatre manager, Shannon Shaw, and her husband, Ken, are the driving forces behind the project, which is mostly volunteer. They’ve put in nearly 500 volunteer hours in the first ten rows of seats, with seven more to go. The cherished theater, dubbed “Boyertown’s Brightest Spot,” is well on its way to modernizing all 215 seats while preserving the historic setting.
“The renovation of the State Theatre seats is not just a physical transformation, but a revitalization of the community’s cultural heritage and a commitment to preserving the beloved historic venue for future generations to enjoy,” said Shaw.
Although planning began in 2019, the first row of seats was not removed until 2022, when the journey officially began. Instead of completely replacing the seats in the historic theater, it was decided to update the existing seating. The entire seating renovation project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
The project involves disassembling and reassembling the seats piece by piece to update with new fabric, repair arm rests, and breathe new life into these seats.
The work is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but the result is a much-needed update to this historic setting. In addition, cup holders will be added and are currently being designed and manufactured specifically for the theater. Sam Diehl of Maguire Products, A.W. Mercer, and Schultz Upholstery have also contributed their time, and energy into the seating renovation.
Rooted in the Past, Brought to the Present
The historic theater, which first opened in 1912, later remodeled by renowned theater designer David Supowitz into the iconic Art Deco style cinema, was a hub of community activity for decades. In 2015, the theater was purchased, renovated, and reopened to the public in 2015 as a non-profit, first run movie theater.
Today, the landmark theater is known for showing first-run movies 365 days a year, affordable ticket prices, excellent concessions, high-quality digital cinema and sound, and comfort. Likewise, it is still an important part of Boyertown’s community life, providing a delightful setting for birthday parties, special events, private rentals, weddings, business events, and more.
Defraying the Cost
The seating project is a major undertaking for the theater, and its success is dependent on the community’s generosity and volunteers. Individuals are encouraged to contribute a donation of $100.00 to sponsor a seat by your name added to the Seating Hall of Fame, a poster that hangs in the lobby, to help defray the costs.