The State Theatre Opens After 22 Years

A fundraising event will be held Saturday at 4 p.m.

For 22 years The Sioux Falls State Theatre has been closed.

It was first built in 1926, so the infrastructure needed a little bit of an update.

But come Saturday, this two decade hiatus will end with a fundraising event.

It’s a well-known downtown Sioux Falls building on the outside, but many haven’t seen the inside for quite some time.

“In the last couple of years we’ve put millions of dollars into the infrastructure into the building, all the bones of the building if you will,” says the president of the Sioux Falls State Theatre Board of Directors, John Swedeen.

Four million dollars to be exact, Swedeen says these efforts brought the 90-year-old building back to code, and restored the lobby area.

“The next part of the project is the fun part, where we raise money and restore the auditorium, the balcony the rigging, all the fixtures; we are going to restore this building to its original splendor,” explains Swedeen.

But to do so, they need another $4 million.

“To continue the restoration project, an event will be held this Saturday.

Organizers are calling it a sort of dinner party, before the house is completed.

“We’re going to be showing ‘The General’ which is a Buster Keaton comedy and it’s a silent film,” says Founder and Director of Cinema Falls, the organization putting on the event, Julie Anderson Friesen.

But it won’t be completely silent; a live orchestra will be playing right next to the audience.

“They’re able to create all kinds of sound affects so they’ll be set off to the side and they will watch the screen and play along with that and they play original scores,” says Anderson Friesen.

It will be the first show since 1991.

While some fold-up chairs will be placed next to scaffolding, and there’s a small hole in the screen, Anderson Friesen says that’s the beauty of this fundraising event.

“People are going to see this [and think] this is what we are here for, this is what we need to finish and I want to be part of it.”

The show will seat 350 people, tickets start at $20, but they’re selling out quickly.

Those can be purchased at the Cinema Falls website.