Warner Theatre

811 State Street,
Erie, PA 16501

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Warner Theatre

Built by Rapp & Rapp for Warner Brothers in 1931, the 2,506-seat theater was home to movies and stage shows for years. With the eventual decline of downtown movie palaces, the Warner Theatre transformed itself into a performing arts venue and part of Erie’s Civic Center.

The Warner Theatre Preservation Trust has been raising money to restore and expand the classic Warner Theatre. The project to restore the theatre began in 1992 and continues. Theatre architect Daniel P. Coffey serves as the architect in charge. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has contributed $23 million towards the rehabilitation.

Seating capacity has now been reduced to 2,222 because orchestra level seats now have more legroom and are wider. A gorgeous hardback book ‘A Picture Palace Transformed, How Erie’s Warner Theatre Survived a Changing World’ was published in 2009, and is available from the theatre.

Recent comments (view all 127 comments)

PaulJones on August 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

It’s worth noting that the Eerie Horror Film Festival has been held at the Warner for the past three years and has brought movies (albeit the scary ones) back to the huge Warner screen! The event is held each October and features celebrity guests and vendors. The next one takes place October 7 – 10, 2010. More information can be found on their website: http://www.eeriehorrorfilmfestival.com It’s a fun event and surprisingly family friendly. It’s definitely the only thing that drives us to Erie each year. Hopefully the city recognizes this. As noted above, the people who run the city don’t seem to have a clue when it comes to innovative ideas and the arts.

Patsy on August 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Paul Jones: It sounds like you are in Erie. I’m not far and always jump at the chance to visit the beautiful Warner which has never closed in its long history in Erie.

TLSLOEWS on August 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Wonderful photos and history,great looking theatre.

Charlie_Brown1 on August 10, 2013 at 9:56 pm

You have to really look to find a better theater than the Warner in Erie. This theater had it all and still does. In it’s day,it was a first run theater. From time to time,on Saturday mornings,they had a 17- cartoon show. You know, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker and the beat goes on. The kids used to stand in line all the way to 9th and State Streets. I was there one of the few times they had a double feature,Patton and Mash. You were always sure of a good time at the Warner.

DavidZornig on February 2, 2014 at 2:04 pm

FYI, there is a Facebook page called “History and Memorabilia | Erie Pennsylvania” that has an photo album titled “Warner Theater”. There are many exterior & interior shots, projectors, promos and an extensive history. It is an Open Group, so all the photos are visible.

robboehm on December 27, 2020 at 4:17 pm

The Marquee and vertical have been removed for restoration estimated to cost $700,000. They are expected to be reinstalled prior to the reopening of the Warner in the Spring of 2021 after the multi million dollar restoration of the venue.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on December 28, 2020 at 9:57 am

It’s unfortunate that there are no interior photos for this theater. Also, great to hear that the marquee is being restored. It’s spectauclar. Would also love to see a night shot of it after it is reinstalled.

Trolleyguy on December 28, 2020 at 11:00 am

Luis, there is an auditorium picture on the website. Also many pictures on their Facebook page. No historical shots, though.

fabulousfubby on December 29, 2020 at 2:03 pm

The marquee out front is getting renovated and it should be finished by 2021, giving it a more modern look.

fabulousfubby on December 29, 2020 at 2:03 pm

Also they still have the old ticket booth out front which is pretty cool!

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