Our 17th venue visit on 2013′s Conclave Theatre Tour will be to:
68 Main Street, Torrington, CT
OPENED: August 19, 1931
ARCHITECT: Thomas Lamb
STYLE: Art Deco
Designed in 1931 by Thomas Lamb, no manner of adornment was spared in creating this over-the-top Deco Dreamland. From the high relief gold and silver wall panels to the signature ceiling starburst, all of the best Warner features are found in this theater.
The Warner was built for $750,000 exclusively for motion picture exhibition but the theatre also included an orchestra pit and a 54’ wide stage, features that helped it to thrive over the decades after opening.
When Warner was forced to divest theatres from their holdings, the theater went through several owners but remained fully operational. Motion pictures continued at the Warner until it was closed in 1980.
The theatre was facing demolition when The Northwest Connecticut Association for the Arts was formed in 1980 and took over the theater in 1983. The theater was reopened to an appreciative public with a variety of live programming.
In 1999, a fire broke out in the theatre, caused by a ghost light igniting the main act curtain. Damages amounting to $300,000 included the loss of the curtain, damage to the stage floor, and smoke damage to the auditorium walls and ceiling.
The Warner Theater closed its doors in early August 2002 to complete Phase One of its restoration of the vintage Art Deco auditorium. Construction crews cleared the venue of its 1956 seating, worn wall hangings, and interim floor covering. For two months, the auditorium was filled with 45 ft. high scaffolding to enable the restoration of the intricately stenciled ceiling, refurbishment of the huge, silver and gold star-shaped light, and cleaning and gilding for the complex, interweaving pattern that tops the theatre’s walls.
Gold brocade draperies from France now accent the walls, replace the act curtain, and dress the lobby stairway landing. The auditorium floor was also refurbished to better accommodate handicap access, and the lobby, aisle, and atrium carpeting was restored with a recreation of the original Art Deco pattern from when the theatre opened in 1931. The lighting, sound, and fire alarm systems were also updated, restoring the venue back to state-of-the-art status.
Today’s Warner Theatre is in operation year-round with more than 80,000 patrons passing through its doors each year. It provides a dynamic art-in-education program that has reached thousands of young people from throughout the region. It features a community theatre program that is supported by more than 400 volunteers—from actors to carpenters to ushers.
WHY ARE WE SEEING IT?
Over the top, jaw-dropping, out-of-this-world Art Deco to the max. Art Deco enthusiasts will be in true heaven at the Warner Theater in Torrington, CT!
Registrations for Conclave 2013 are now closed.