The Penn Theater
What started as a 20th century moviehouse now reinvents itself as Butler, PA's focal point for the performing arts, live shows, music, comedy, speakers, films, interactive & novel fun, private events, corporate conferences & meetings, & so much more, serving the community as an anchor for history & heritage, as a source for outreach & support, & as the heart of arts, events, & culture!
So come, one & all, to experience the magic of Butler again!
history of the penn
In 1937, the Paramount Theater Service Corporation of Altoona, Pennsylvania, announced a grand new theater for downtown Butler. The general contractors, Miller & Dumbaugh of Butler, had a budget of $70,000, and started work in September of the same year. The total cost of the project came in at $125,000. At the time, Butler had five other theaters, but this would stand out with its state-of-the-art projection equipment and a never-seen-before geothermal air conditioning system which cooled the facility by forcing air over a pool of water drawn from a 320-foot well, drilled under Main Street. ... ... ... [continue reading]
the penn theater
board of directors & advisory council
Please meet the members of the Board of Directors and its Advisory Council of the Penn Theater Performance Co.!
These dedicated members of the community all share common goals: to save the Penn Theater, to transition its use from moviehouse to multi-purpose, multi-use event venue, to better serve the needs of the community, and to increase inclusvity and access to all members of the diverse Butler region community.
About The Historic Penn Theater
Construction of the Penn Theater by Miller & Dumbaugh began in September 1937 at a cost of $125,000. Located at 149 North Main Street in downtown Butler, the Penn was designed by New York architect James E Casale and seated 1,100 on the main floor with 40 loge chairs in the mezzanine. It boasted luxurious art deco lighting, carpet and friezes, modern projection equipment, and a state-of-the-art air conditioning system, which utilized an innovative geothermal cooling technique, by forcing the air over a pool of deep, underground water drawn from a 320-foot well.
As the latest venture of Anast N. Notopolous and Paramount Theaters' Service Corporation, which managed several moviehouses throughout Western Pennsylvania from their Altoona headquarters, the Penn shined bright. Notopolous, who started business in 1910, was one of the moving picture theater pioneers in the region. In the polite writing of such bygone days, the owners, in an ad purchased in the April 23, 1938, Butler Eagle, said, "Thank you, Butler, for the splendid turnout accorded us yesterday. Thank you for the thousands of paid admissions, the praises of our beautiful theater, and how you were thrilled by the unforgettable beauty of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's romantic Girl of the Golden West."
The Penn Theater has been a prominent focal point and attraction to downtown Butler since 1938. Initially, the movie theater prospered largely due to its entertainment appeal and amenities. Continuing through the 1940s and 1950s, it was still Butler’s principal entertainment venue, even though the bustling industrial hub had many other theaters and moviehouses with which to compete.
Alas... the Penn's good fortune did not last, however, as time and turbulent decades took their toll. However, this grand old theater is primed for revitalization. It is Butler built. Butler proud. Butler resilient. Butler strong.
Under new ownership and new management, the Penn Theater looks towards the coming years in the 21st century with excitement, community outreach & support, and new creation. Bryan, Marina, & the entire team at the Penn welcomes you to rediscover fun, arts, events, entertainment, and culture again in downtown Butler, PA!