The Historic Lewis Theatre
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The Lewis Theatre 2015
The Lewis Theatre Circa 1959
The Lewis Theatre opened in downtown Lewisburg, WV in 1939, where "small" vaudeville entertainment was performed live before film showings. It has operated continuously since then, serving the local community and visitors. The Lewis Theatre is featured in the West Virginia Historic Theatre Trail, a project of the Preservation Alliance of WV and the State Historic Preservation Office. It is also a listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building of the Lewisburg downtown historic district. In 2007, three board members of Trillium Performing Arts Collective, Ann Davis, Lin Preston, and Larry Levine, formed ALL Arts, LLC., a limited liability company which then purchased the Lewis Theatre building. ALL Arts became the manager of the building, including the movie business and Trillium became the art company in residence for the theatre.
After nearly 70 years of operation, the Lewis Theatre needed some significant TLC. Trillium initiated a capital campaign to renovate the theatre into a space suitable for both film and live performances. With the help of persevering staff, public and private donors, and many donors and volunteers, the first phase of renovation was completed in fall of 2009, allowing Trillium to host its first concert production in its new home in December of that year. Even amidst the economic downturn that occurred during the opening year of the capital campaign, Trillium completed this phase of renovation without accruing any debt. A rare accomplishment these days, and one consciously determined by the board of directors.
In 2013, another renovation to the theatre came albiet less determinedly than those before it. In the thirties, The Lewis was at the forefront of film technology, but almost a century later, 35 mm reels have been rendered all but obsolete. The theatre, in order to make the transition to digital projection conducted a successful campiagn through Kickstarter to earn "39Ks in 39 Days." Thanks to the vehement efforts and collective heart of this arts community, the theatre was able to keep from going dark.
The Lewis Theatre currently shows movies Friday through Monday. Sign up for weekly e-mail reminders of upcoming films by joining our mailing list and selecting the Lewis Theatre option. You can also visit the Lewis Theatre page on Facebook!