Our Story

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Showcasing the arts to everyone!

The State Theatre brings exciting artists to Culpeper while also sharing the stage with the talent in our own backyard. We strive to provide diverse programs to the community, giving everyone an opportunity to experience the arts.

National, regional, and local artists share the stage at our restored and enhanced venue. Enjoy live music, dance, dramatic performances, comedy, or attend a classic film or unique motion picture provided in partnership with the Library of Congress Packard Campus archive. And, there is always an exciting collection of live holiday performances to enjoy each season.

There’s not a bad seat in the house! With amazing acoustics and unobstructed views, the State Theatre is a beautiful blend of a historic theatre and state-of-the-art facilities. For a full 360 view of the theatre, click here.

Click here to view the theatre photo gallery.

 

HISTORY

The State Theatre was built by State Senator Benjamin Pitts in 1938 as a vaudeville movie house, and was originally named the Pitts Theatre. The building featured an art deco façade with a modest interior, as was the prevalent style for movie houses in that era. Of the thirty theatres that Senator Pitts built in the state of Virginia, there are only two that are still in use as a movie theatre—the State Theatre of Culpeper and The Royal located in Front Royal, VA. The Pitts family leased the theatre to Regal Cinemas in 1973, and it was renamed The State Theatre. For nearly fifty-five years the theatre served as Culpeper’s primary movie theatre.

Many natives of the area recall the State Theatre in its heyday and attended live performances or watched movies there over the years. Some recall having their first date there, taking piano lessons adjacent to the stage, or getting dropped off as a youngster to watch a motion picture. For nearly 55 years the Theatre served as Culpeper’s primary movie theatre.

In the early 90s, after some changes in ownership, the State Theatre was closed to the public. It was used privately, and eventually this priceless historic landmark sat vacant, abandoned and neglected – coming dangerously close to being demolished. But, thanks to a committed group of Culpeper area community members and business leaders, a State Theatre Foundation was formed to lead an effort toward rehabilitation, renovation and preservation.

After a decade of hard work and restoration efforts, the State Theatre is now a beautiful 560-seat live theatre, with a contemporary sound system, updated lobby, and expanded 35-foot stage. It also retains many restored historic elements, such as the striking neon marquee, beautifully reproduced carpeting and wall sconces, and the original proscenium arch that embraces the stage.

In May of 2008, the State Theatre was placed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. In December 2012, the Theatre celebrated the Grand Illumination of the restored marquee. The theatre reopened its doors in May 2013—75 years after it was built.

The inaugural 2013–2014 season kicked off with a celebration of music, film, dance, drama, and children’s programming. From Bruce Hornsby and Lyle Lovett to regional ballet companies and the Crossroads Youth Orchestra, a wide variety of artists made their local debut on the State Theatre stage.

To view an archive of past performances, click here.