“Gem of Rupert” the Wilson Theatre
By Benito Baeza
Story Published: Mar 1, 2010 at 12:22 AM CST
Story Updated: Mar 1, 2010 at 12:22 AM CST
The Wilson Theatre might be known as the “gem of Rupert” when the restoration is all said and done.
According to Earl Corless who’s on the board of directors of the Renaissance Arts center, they’re in the 3rd and final phase of the project, the auditorium, with about 75 to 80 percent of the work finished.
Phase one and two are nearly complete.”Our goal here is to restore this as near as possible to what it was in 1920 when it opened.”
Built originally as a vaudeville theater, it also has movie capabilities.
Earl Corless, who’s on the board of directors says “We still have a fly loft in the back of the stage where you can change the scenery, that sort of thing for a fine arts theater as well as show movies.”
The project is based on grants and donations.
Most of the stained glass in the building is original.
Robert Orr was born and raised in Rupert and left for California as a teenager.
He retired about six or seven years ago and wanted to reconnect with the community.
He initially donated $100,000 dollars to these efforts.
“Got so excited, that I got involved and stayed involved.”
Corless says the building has always been used, but not in full capacity.
In fact there were 35 nights filled last year.
It’s unknown when the project will be complete.
But when that time comes,
Orr says “It will be an icon for this community.”
Corless says “There’s no other venue where you can get four year olds and eighty year olds on the same stage at the same time.”