The Susquehanna Stage Company estimates that it will cost anywhere from $3 million to $4.3 million to restore a historic movie house in downtown Marietta to make it a home for both movies and live theater.
It’s got a good start on that goal after getting a $500,000 grant from the Eater Family Foundation and the potential for $1 million more from the state to restore the historic Marietta Theatre.
State Rep. Dave Hickernell was on hand for the ceremony held Friday, May 4, to receive the grant from the foundation; he said getting money from the state would require raising an equal amount privately. He said once another $500,000 is raised, he can approach the governor’s office to argue that the restoring the movie house is a worthwhile project.
Tyler Hoffman, chairman of the Marietta Theatre committee, said at the ceremony that the theater opened in 1913 and was the longestoperating movie house in Pennsylvania when it closed in 1997. He said the last movie shown there was “Titanic.”
The Susquehanna Stage Company bought the building in 2016.
Sylvia Garner, the administrative director for the Susquehanna Stage Company, said in an interview that her community theater group plans to move its live plays and musicals from the former gymnasium where they perform now into the Marietta Theatre when it is restored. She said when there are no live plays being performed, the theater will be used to show classic films. There are no plans to have it show first-run movies, Garner said.