Historic State Theatre of Boyertown looks to the future

Local singer Dylan Andre on stage at The State.

Movies on film will soon be a thing of the past, but the State Theatre of Boyertown isn’t letting that stand in its way. The owner of the historic 101-year-old theatre is determined to keep the community anchor viable.

“Right now I’m focused on making the theatre a performing arts center and bringing great talent to Boyertown,” says theatre owner Kevin Rhude of Boyertown. “The community has really rallied around the theatre, and we’re getting more people to every show.”

Rhude believes one of the reasons for the success of the live-music format is the family friendly atmosphere.

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“There are other venues in the area that host live performers, but I think what sets us apart is that parents can bring their children to any of our shows. If we ever have a performer that does content that’s not appropriate for children, those as young as 8, we’ll advertise that. And many of the children who are coming to our events are the next generation of musicians.”

For 101 years, local residents have been making memories at the theatre, and Rhude hopes to keep the memories coming.

“I’ve had people tell me they saw their first movie at The State,” Rhude says. “For some it was the first place they were allowed to go with their friends without their parents – to a local pizza place for dinner and then here for a movie. I want people to be able to keep doing that – to create new memories at the theatre. It’s a great place for people to come together. Our shows aren’t over that late, and it’s a friendly venue for children. Plus it’s a place for the under-21 crowd to see popular bands.”

The theatre is closed this week for renovations. One of the things being done is removing the front row of seats to allow more room in front of the state for dancing.

“On Valentine’s Day we had a band, Todd O, perform a Billy Joel tribute show, and there were people up dancing. I decided we needed more room, so we’re removing a few seats this week. And we have a horn band coming in April 4, Sammy-G, that I know will get the audience on their feet.”

Live music isn’t the only thing keeping The State busy. There is a series of Saturday shows for children of all ages starting soon including a magician. And in May the theatre will host “Angie Jackson the Musical,” a live theatrical production featuring a cast from the Lehigh Valley Youth Community Theatre.

Rhude hasn’t completely given up on movies, though.

“It’s getting more difficult to get movies on 35mm film,” he says. “My long-term goal is to start a non-profit called Save the State to raise the funds to buy the digital projection equipment to show digital film. That could cost as much as $100,000 when including the necessary cooling equipment. But until that happens, my goal is to keep The State an active part of the community.”

The historic State Theatre of Boyertown is a community landmark that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Showing movies, special events and concerts, “the State” is more than a movie … it’s a memory.” For concert and ticket information, please visit http://statetheatreboyertown.com/.