Volunteers step in to save historic theatre in Oroville

Feb 25, 2015 7:50 PM by Jason Atcho

The doors first opened at the State Theatre in Oroville on April 7th, 1928, and it's still standing today. When the city found itself in a financial pinch, city council decided they could no longer afford to operate the theatre. That's when a local volunteer group called State Theatre Arts Guild, or S.T.A.G.E., stepped in to help with the day to day operations. They're calling it "Miracle on Myers Street". "Everything from the maintenance, ushering, ticket sales, everything is done by volunteers," said Karen Buck, a S.T.A.G.E. volunteer.

Buck says she's looking towards the future of the arts in Oroville. "Without a theatre like this, we really won't have a venue to have concert like what we have." Many businesses and individuals have stepped in to help keep it open. "Because of grant and donations by sponsors, we're able to fund what you just saw. The student matinee," explained Buck.

S.T.A.G.E. was able to provide these free shows for local school children. "For many of them, it's the only chance they get to view live entertainment on a stage," said Buck.

Many students say they felt fortunate to have this opportunity. "I feel happy that we have this chance," said Julia Delaby, a student at STREAM Charter School. "It was really fun. I've never gotten to see one in Oroville like that," added Ashley Hipchen of STREAM Charter School.

The theatre attracts all kinds of acts, including the band Good Company that's travelling the country. One of the members, Joel White, says it's important to introduce youth to the arts. "We all started roughly at their age being inspired by other musicians." White says it's important to have a venue like this in the community. "It's like a cultural center. Where people can come together and appreciate the arts. Whether it's Shakespeare or amateur dramatics or a show, it's a purpose for people to get together and share a passion for that."

Buck hopes that the efforts of stage will help keep the theatre around for generations to come. "If we don't teach them now, they're not going to have the knowledge and the desire to keep this theatre going in the future."

If you're interested in becoming a member of the State Theatre, it's only $25 for an annual membership for an individual, or $50 for a family.

To get more information about upcoming shows and concerts, click here.


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