Art Students Promote Newly Reopened State Theatre

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Art students recently got some real-world experience by participating in a community project to promote the newly reopened State Theatre.

They created 15 posters for the renovated theater on Reading Avenue, which reopened October 29th.

The movie posters are currently hanging in shop windows and are Christmas themed. For example, one says “Clause” instead of “Jaws”, with a picture of a shark with a red nose.

Art Teacher Mr. Thomas Daraneau said Building a Better Boyertown, a nonprofit group that focuses on revitalizing downtown properties, is who originally approached the art program about participating in the theatre project.

“They wanted us to paint windows, we declined,” Mr. Dareneau said. “It was too time consuming.”

He said 15 students made the main designs for the acetate posters instead, then around 60 students collaborated in order to complete them all.

As part of the collaboration with the theatre, the art department also held a free event at the theatre called “Art 21” from 4-5:30 on December 9th that explored “What is the role of artists in the 21st Century?”. It featured student works and a film produced by Art Teacher Mr. Dominic Frunzi about BASH’s art classes.

The State Theater is a community theatre that originally was built in 1912 after a fire broke out in the old opera house in 1908.

It shut down in March 2015, just three months after switching to a full-time live performance venue instead of showing movies. The high cost of converting to a digital-projection system played a role in that decision, said Adrianne Blank, manager of Build a Better Boyertown, in an April 2015 Reading Eagle article.

The goal of the theater is to bring community back to Boyertown, said State Theatre Manager Shannon Anthony.

“When the Boyertown theater was closed down a few years ago, I felt like it was devastating to the Boyertown community, so opening it back up is definitely going to bring community back into small town Boyertown,” she said.

The plan is to eventually allow Boyertown High School groups to perform and use the theater, she said. Students already performed at a rededication of the theater on October 28th that honored Steve Maguire.

Maguire is who purchased the theater. He is leasing the building to the State Theatre Preservation Society for $1 a year over 20 years. Extensive renovations took place over the summer and the society has scheduled several live shows through March.

The theater also plans to show movies sometime next year, Anthony said.

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