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State Theatre reopens with a new name and a new mission

Eau Claire (WQOW)- Friday night is the grand reopening of the historic state theatre, and while the doors are opening again, the shows won’t look quite the same as they did nearly 100 years ago.

The historic state theatre has stood in downtown Eau Claire since 1926, but last year it appeared to have its last curtain call.

The property was purchased earlier this year, and since then renovations have been underway.

Now the theatre is reopening with a new name and a new mission.

“When we re-opened the building I knew that I wanted it to be called the State Theatre and Community Center,” said Joe Luginbill, the CEO of the State Theatre and Community Center. “This isn’t just serving as a venue space for events; that’s one part of it, but it will also be a hub for non-profit activity.”

Luginbill said there’s a lot in store for the State Theatre and Community Center, which will give them a different spotlight.

“All sorts of different kinds of fundraisers whether that’s different kinds of film screening with panels or perhaps musical acts and concerts or maybe even just having a reception and having some events here in the foyer in the lobby,” Luginbill said. “There are so many different things you can do with a space like this.”

Luginbill said they’ve already spent five-figures working to update the nearly century-old historic site.

He said they plan to continue to put time and money in it because he said the site is worth it.

“A place as special as this that has memories like that for so many of us really needs to be kept alive in some way,” Luginbill said. “It’s not only a really special part of childhood but now it’s a special part of my adulthood too, and I’m really excited for the rest of the community to feel that too.”

Friday night there’s an open house at the State Theatre and Community Center from 5 to 8:30.

There will be pop-up shops, local music, and a film at the theatre.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee joined News 18 in February 2018 as a Multi-Media Journalist.

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