Théâtre à l'italienne
in 1919, the Colonial Theater opened as a vaudeville theater and had one of the largest
stages in the intermountain west at that time. Acoustics are still superb. Because it was
designed before modern sound systems were invented, a whisper on the stage can be heard at
the top of the balcony. Traveling vaudeville acts and minstrels entertained and actors,
musicians and dancers performed on the hardwood stage.
1929 it was renamed the Paramount Theater and began showing movies. Although a number of
live acts performed on its stage up through WWII, it operated primarily as a movie house
until the late 1980's when it closed. The Arts Council successfully completed a $4.2
million capital campaign to renovate the buildings into a magnificent visual and performing
arts center for the region.
three building facility was renamed for Miles and Virginia Willard who chaired the campaign
and donated $1.2 million to the renovation. In December 1997, the visual arts building
opened comprised of the 2000 square foot Taylor and Betty Carr Gallery, the Blake and
Laurel Hall Gallery for Young Artists, a conference room with a beautifully restored
stained glass window, three classrooms, reception area and theater lobby.
March 1999, the 970 seat Colonial Theater re-opened with Ray Charles performing. Today, it
is one of only three large theaters of historical significance which still remain in