New life for Holly Theater [Medford, Oregon]

May 24, 2011 12:07 AM
Jenica Villamor/

Medford, Ore. — After more than 20 years in the dark the Holly Theater is making a comeback.

Jefferson Public Radio launched a project to renovate the building Monday night. Broadcast leaders held a public meeting and talked about their plans to bring Holly Theater back to life. Executive Director Ron Kramer says they are going to transform the theater to the way it looked when it opened in 1930.

“When you enter the building you feel like you left Medford and went on a journey– that’s the kind of magic you want on an experience and you want to recapture that,” he said.

Kramer says the plan is to turn it into a venue for the arts and the historic building will bring more visitors downtown.

“People like the connection to the past and the sense of majesty in these properties,” he said.

Lori Garfield has lived in the area for decades and says often went to the theater with her family and friends.

“I’m from Seattle and there were a lot of big theaters there and the Holly reminded me of home… it was a feel good place,” she said.

JPR representatives talked about the history of the building during the meeting and answered questions from the community. Kramer says they plan on restoring everything to the way it use to be from the inside out.

Richard Burgess says he grew up in the theater. His dad was the manager for many years.

“It was such a part of my life. My childhood and all my fondest memories took place in that theater,” he said.

To Burgess, the theater was his home.

“To actually bring it back to its formal glory is a dream come true,” he said.

Renovations for the interior and façade of the theater will cost about $3.5 million. JPR is waiting to see if the city will approve a grant to help out with costs. The Director says if all goes well, the outside will be finished within a year. Kramer says the theater will be complete about four years from now.

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