State Theater

204 E. Fourth Avenue,
Olympia, WA 98501

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Front of building

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The State Theater opened in 1949 and was first operated by Evergreen Theaters.

Constucted with stadium seating for 1000 patrons, the former single screen theater was triplexed in 1977, under Tom Moyer Luxury Theaters.

In 1983, the State became a second run theater and later a dollar house before it closed in the late 1990’s.

In the spring of 1998, Harlequin Productions, a 501c (3) non-profit semi-professional theater company, purchased the building to be used for live theater, and began a $1.3 million dollar remodeling project.

The remodel created a level, semi-thrust sprung-floor stage with 220 seats set in a seven row amphitheater arrangement. The furthest seat is 40 feet from the stage. A system of catwalks over the stage and audience provides lighting positions of 23' to 27' above the stage floor. Located on an open Tech Deck at the back of the house are an audio board and fully equipped lighting system, which allows for a variety of lighting options as well as a quality sound system with an emphasis on playback. An electrical isolated ground system is in place at four locations: in the first house row, the back aisle of the house, backstage and on the Tech Deck. A system of 6" conduit runs under the audience and stage floor to assist with cabling needs. The stage is accessible by a 9' x 10' roll-up door with a 36" loading dock.

In 2003, further enhancements changed the audience seating area to 212 and added both costume and property storage areas to what was once the two additional movie auditoriums. While there is limited backstage space, there is a fully accessible dressing room and bathroom for artist use. Future plans (2005-2008) call for larger dressing rooms, 80 – 100 additional audience seats, upgraded audio equipment and acoustical enhancement.

Contributed by Trudy Soucoup, Ken Layton, Bret Connell

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

kencmcintyre on December 24, 2007 at 4:09 pm

It was actually sunny today in Olympia. I managed to take some pictures without getting soaked. The State is a block away from the Capitol.

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2008 at 6:08 pm

This was part of an ad in the May 1950 issue of Boxoffice magazine:

KenLayton on December 13, 2008 at 9:00 pm

I have a blowup of that full ad somewhere in my collection.

ron1screen on February 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Having never been in the state does anyone have any photo’s of the interior before it was split up into 3 cinemas. And any of the way it is now?

KenLayton on August 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Theater opened on Tuesday November 22, 1949. The theater manager at that time was Archie Zarewski.

Mr. G.K. Porterfield was one of the first projectionists at this theater.

KenLayton on August 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Boxoffice magazine covered the opening in their December 3, 1949 issue:

KenLayton on August 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

May 6, 1950 issue of Boxoffice magazine profiles the theater’s seating, auditorium, and artwork on the walls.

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