State Theatre

157 Broad Street,
Kingsport, TN 37660

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LouRugani on September 22, 2020 at 7:39 pm

New State Theatre owner plans to revive the downtown Kingsport venue (December 2019, WJHL)– Mark Hunt plans to bring new life to a historic landmark of downtown Kingsport. “It’s been an infatuation I guess, and a dream of mine since I was in my twenties to have a little theater,” Hunt said. Hunt is a Kingsport native and owner of auto repair business The Body Shop. But now he also owns a piece of Model City history. Hunt purchased the State Theatre on Broad Street in November from Kingsport real estate agency Urban Synergy. He plans to restore the venue into an entertainment spot for the whole community. “We’re going to try to get it back just the way it was,” said Hunt. “Just tweak it a little bit, outside of just [showing] movies. Try to get some live music or stand-up comedy. Mix it up a little bit.” The State Theatre opened in 1936 and drew in audiences with movies and plays throughout the decades. Its doors closed in the 1970s and the building fell into disrepair. There have been several owners and temporary businesses in the building since. Hunt says there’s plenty of work to be done to restore the State’s former glory. “The seats are gone, the stage is there. Ninety to ninety five percent of the electrical is finished. So the big part is over.” Hunt’s efforts have the City of Kingsport’s support. “Downtown buildings and especially theatres from back in the day, those are harder venues [to revive] because of your capacity and your seating,” said Jason Hudson, Kingsport’s economic development director. “It takes passion. And having a local business owner who has that passion to bring it downtown is the best chance of success for the theater.“ Hunt said the State Theatre will likely reopen in 2021, but a late 2020 opening is also possible. “We’re going to try to shake Kingsport up a little bit here in the next couple of years,” said Hunt.

Trolleyguy on September 24, 2019 at 7:06 am

Google Street View of April 2019 shows the exterior and marquee to be in reasonably good condition.

rivest266 on September 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm

This reopened as the Christian Cinema on January 11th, 1985 and renamed All-American Family Cinema on August 12th, 1988. All American Family CinemaAll American Family Cinema Fri, Aug 12, 1988 – 29 · Kingsport Times-News (Kingsport, Tennessee) ·

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2019 at 2:53 pm

The official web site link is defunct. The State Theatre Company also has a Facebook page, but it hasn’t been updated in almost two years. There is also a Twitter feed, but its last update is from 28 June 2017. The theater company was presenting events that year, but apparently not at the theater itself. I haven’t found anything more recent, and suspect that the renovation project is currently moribund.

rivest266 on September 21, 2019 at 11:40 am

This opened on March 6th, 1936. Grand opening ad posted.

DavidZornig on December 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

1954 photo added via David Kroger.

pnelson on August 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Handsome exterior and box office and marquee.

DavidZornig on August 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

1951/`52 photo added courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page. Original marquee on the far right.

davidfhale on September 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Lamplight bailed on the State and bought the Strand instead.

A couple involved in downtown Kingsport has purchased the State:


ree_ree on June 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

Lamplight is working to finnish restoring it!Hopeing thay got all the pleages that thay need.

Patsy on November 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

What exactly is the current status of this theatre?

davidfhale on November 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

The developer’s plan is stalled, so the theatre is going to sit there until somebody comes up with the funding to buy it and finish the restoration:

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Big Christmas Movie One week only,John Wayne in the “HELLFIGHTERS”.Adults were 1.25 and kids were 50 cents.1967.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 22, 2010 at 3:28 am

Here is a 1947 photo of the State Theatre’s auditorium, showing part of the original Mediterranean atmospheric decoration of the sidewall.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Feb 6 1969 and THE BEATLES are playing in"YELLOW SUBMARINE"

Dec.11 ,1969 and “PARANOIA” a horror movie is playing with no one admitted under 18 without a parent.

Patsy on January 19, 2010 at 7:38 pm

This theatre has gone through some changes over the years, but glad to see that it is being renovated/restored with TLC.

kencmcintyre on August 22, 2007 at 9:54 pm

Here is a December 1944 ad from the Kingsport Times:

JackCoursey on November 25, 2006 at 2:33 pm

Here are some 2006 photos of the State 1, 2, 3

kencmcintyre on November 16, 2006 at 3:27 pm

There was an interesting lineup at the State on 1/13/46:

Days And Nights Of Romance And Uproarious Adventure

Out of the legendary East comes an amazing tale of prlncesses and
and paupers… and the genie with the light brown hair!

Spectacular slave girl auctions, luscious dancing girls, the Sultan's
Darling, the Giant who performs miracles… all in


Short Hits
John Nesbitt presents
A New, Interesting Passing Parade Story of “THE GREAT AMERICAN MUGGS"

Open Daily 9:45 a.m.

jefffleming on June 1, 2006 at 4:18 pm

This theatre has been acquired by Doug Beatty, a restoration carpenter from Asheville, NC. He discovered the original architectural plans is meticulously restoring the building as a multi-purpose venue for special events.