The William Powell movie "Rendezvous" was released in 1935.
On December 26, 1930, a new and exciting venture was introduced in the City of Auburn. At the State Theatre's grand opening, attendees marveled at the beautiful interior, elaborate furnishings and marvelous sound projection. The good wishes of many of the businesses and service clubs were noted by the lovely flower arrangements that graced the lobby of the theatre. The building had 1,325 seats. With the opening performance of the film "Sunny" featuring Marilyn Miller, the movie theater served the Auburn community for many years.
The building was extensively remodeled in 1972, the balcony removed, the front part of the auditorium divided into two theatres and the rear of the auditorium converted to a mall.
Evon Basque stands behind the concession stand that greeted customers as they entered the theater, circa 1940.
During the late 1990's, Doris Viera and Esther Stanton, long-time boosters of the City of Auburn, solicited backing from the Auburn community to create a performing arts center in the historic State Theater in Downtown Auburn. It provided a unique opportunity to restore a historical landmark, rejuvenate the downtown area and provide a permanent home for the Auburn Symphony.
Strong Interest In Preserving Our Heritage
The Performing Arts Committee consisting of Doris Viera, Esther Stanton (now deceased), Monroe DeJarnette and William Lipschultz was granted charter committee status by the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce in 2001 and was granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service on August 2, 2001. This committee appointed the first permanent Board of Trustees, consisting of twenty interested community members, most with direct connections to the arts. The Board elected William Lipschultz as its President. The Performing Arts Committee (PAC) collaborated with the City of Auburn on a Feasibility Study to determine if the State could support a performing arts program.
State Theatre Property Purchased in March, 2006
The APPAC Board of Directors initiated an appraisal of the building and negotiated an agreement with the Lardner family, former owners of the property. A loan from our local investor group enabled purchase.
The State Theatre location was chosen because it is:
- A valued part of the historic fabric of the City of Auburn worth preserving
- Close to the center of Downtown Auburn and Placer High School
- Close to restaurants and shops
- Across from a major hub for public transportation
- Cost effective compared to other alternatives
- A way to bring economic renaissance to Downtown Auburn
- Able to house The Auburn Symphony and accommodate a wide range of theatrical uses
NTD Architects of Auburn Chosen as Project Architect in
After requesting proposals, APPAC interviewed three firms. The Project Architect for the very successful Cascade Theater restoration project in Redding, California, James Theimer, assisted APPAC in the selection process.
NTD offers substantial experience and background in the planning and execution of successful performing arts center projects and historic theaters and was the unanimous choice of the review team.
Project Auburn Provides a New Building Façade in May, 2008
Project Auburn, under the leadership of Nick Willick, and assisted by the Auburn Rotary Club, and Jeff Henry of the Placer County Contractors Association, provided a beautiful new façade replicating the façade that existed in 1937 when the building was "modernized".
Architect Richard Wyatt did the research and plans for the project.
New Marquee and Tower Sign Installed in June, 2008
A grant from the Auburn Urban Development Authority (City of Auburn), a gift from Viola Wrigley, and funds provided by the APPAC Board enabled installation of a 1937 era marquee and sign.
Progress Since Spring, 2009
- New business plan completed
- Lobby and restrooms refurbished
- 35mm projector and screen installed
- 130 seat demonstration theater refurbished
- New stage installed
- Movies and live performances began in demonstration theatre
- Option to purchase adjacent property secured
A summary of our progress and answers to many questions can be found on our
FAQ page - Frequently Asked Questions.