Our History

The Liberty Theatre

The Arcade Theatre c. 1916

The La Grande Liberty Theatre has a rich history. The building was originally opened as the Orpheum Theatre in 1910 by owners Stephen A. and Madlin Gardninier. Early shows at the Orpheum were vaudeville performances rather than films. The stucco and brick structure was constructed as a two-story building with a three-story fly gallery over the stage.  The lower floor sat 438 people and the upper balcony held 182 people.

The Orpheum’s name was changed to the Arcade Theatre in February 1911 and became a movie house. It cost 10 cents to see a film at the Arcade. The theater underwent a major upgrade during this time which included a complete transformation of the facade. This original facade remains today. The Arcade Theatre had its first “talkie” test in 1929 as the era of the silent film began to fade. Then in 1930 the theater was purchased, redecorated and opened as the Liberty Theatre.

The theater became La Grande’s pride and joy because it was the “fanciest” theater of its time.  The Liberty Theatre closed its doors May 4, 1959. The stage, basement, dressing rooms, bathrooms and projection room and balcony were not used after the building closed. In 1962 the building was converted to retail space.

Arcade Theatre - 1930

Arcade Theatre c. 1930

Pieces of the Liberty’s many eras can be seen throughout the theater. Some of the original 1930s seats remain in excellent condition and are used in the Stage Door Theater, the small temporary performance space behind the retail area.  Light fixtures from the 1920s still hang in the balcony lobby. The colorful wool carpet in the balcony remains in excellent condition despite being nearly 70 years old. The Liberty’s original chandelier and plasterwork remains much as it was when the theater closed.

The Liberty Theatre’s restoration plan includes the preservation and replication of these unique features. The theater will also be outfitted with stage lights, sound and projection equipment to accommodate the needs of both film and live performances.

 

Upcoming Events

Sep
2
Fri
8:00 pm Anna Tivel w/Jeffrey Martin and ... @ Stage Door Theater
Anna Tivel w/Jeffrey Martin and ... @ Stage Door Theater
Sep 2 @ 8:00 pm
Join us Sept. 2, when the lovely Anna Tivel returns to the Stage Door with her raw but warm and authentic sounds. Her recently released album “Heroes Waking Up” highlights Anna’s love of quiet stories. She’s joined on this tour
Sep
9
Fri
6:30 pm La Grande Shakespeare Co. fundra... @ Looking Glass Books
La Grande Shakespeare Co. fundra... @ Looking Glass Books
Sep 9 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
The La Grande Shakespeare Company will host a gala fundraiser and 2016-2017 Season Announcement party from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. September 9th at Looking Glass Books (2110 Adams Ave., La Grande). *See performances from some of our past productions, along
8:00 pm The Guys @ Stage Door Theater
The Guys @ Stage Door Theater
Sep 9 @ 8:00 pm
The Guys @ Stage Door Theater | La Grande | Oregon | United States
The Guys, a play written by Anne Nelson, pays tribute to the fallen of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Bridger Adkison and Jeanie Nickel produce the show to pay tribute to the 15th anniversary of the tragedy. The Guys is
Sep
10
Sat
8:00 pm The Guys @ Stage Door Theater
The Guys @ Stage Door Theater
Sep 10 @ 8:00 pm
The Guys @ Stage Door Theater | La Grande | Oregon | United States
The Guys, a play written by Anne Nelson, pays tribute to the fallen of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Bridger Adkison and Jeanie Nickel produce the show to pay tribute to the 15th anniversary of the tragedy. The Guys is
Sep
11
Sun
2:00 pm The Guys @ Stage Door Theater
The Guys @ Stage Door Theater
Sep 11 @ 2:00 pm
The Guys @ Stage Door Theater | La Grande | Oregon | United States
The Guys, a play written by Anne Nelson, pays tribute to the fallen of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Bridger Adkison and Jeanie Nickel produce the show to pay tribute to the 15th anniversary of the tragedy. The Guys is