Theater Getting New (Old?) Look

By: Damon Dillman
By: Damon Dillman

The doors are locked, the displays empty, and the ticket booth vacant. But soon, the Dixie Theater in downtown Staunton will be alive again.

"It's a beautiful, art-deco, 1936 design, designed in the '30s by a very famous architect named John Eberson," said Judy Mosedale, executive director of the Staunton Performing Arts Center.

"We are going to create that 1936 look."

The Performing Arts Center owns the building, with the intention of one day calling the theater home. The plans include a 500-seat performance center, and the Valley's largest movie screen.

But for now, Mosedale and others just want to re-open the doors to the public.

The theater was originally built in 1912. It was renovated in 1936 after a fire, and renovated again in the '80s.

For the last month, the building's been getting another facelift, thanks to the efforts of four Staunton residents leasing the building, including John Zinn, and countless volunteers.

"Every Saturday we have a corps of volunteers down here painting the bathrooms and the trim inside," said Zinn. "They've been painting outside. They've been fixing the display cases.

"It's been fun so far," he added. "We're just anxious to get it open, though."

Zinn hopes to start showing movies again at the theater within a month.

"We're not trying to make it fancy," he explained. "We just want a clean, nice atmosphere, get the movies running, and have some fun."

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