Washington Center for the Performing Arts

512 Washington Street SE,
Olympia, WA 98501

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Related Websites

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Evergreen State Amusement Corp.

Architects: George B. Purvis

Functions: Movies (Silent), Performing Arts

Previous Names: Liberty Theatre, New Olympic Theatre, Olympic Theatre

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News About This Theater

AD from 1948

The Liberty Theatre opened on August 30, 1924 with Milton Sills in “The Last Hour” plus 5-acts of vaudeville. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 9 ranks organ which was opened by organist Esther Steyner. By 1941 it was operated by Evergreen State Amusement Corp. The Liberty Theatre was renovated and refurbished in 1948 and was renamed the New Olympic Theatre movie house opening on April 2, 1948 with Clifton Webb in “Sitting Pretty”.

In the early-1980’s the Olympic Theatre was taken down to just a few exterior walls and completely rebuilt as the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. While the building’s fa├žade still retains elements of the 1924 architecture, the interior is contemporary and modern.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

KenLayton on September 6, 2005 at 1:18 pm

They took the old theater down to PART of one wall to classify as a remodel. This was so the City of Olympia (as operators of this building) would not have to meet their own parking regulations!

kencmcintyre on December 25, 2007 at 12:13 am

The exterior is rather plain. I didn’t realize that this was a former theater when I saw it today.

KenLayton on August 6, 2013 at 5:43 pm

The theater is in the middle of a 4 million dollar facelift and remodeling. It will also get a marquee for the first time in it’s life. I will get pictures when the project is done in a few months.

Trolleyguy on July 17, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Functions should include: Movies (silent)

KenLayton on July 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Andy Crow, well-known Pacific Northwest organist who restored the pipe organ in this theater, passed away a few days ago. The pipe organ has been renamed the “Andy Crow Wurlitzer” in his memory. He will receive a posthumous award later in the year for his many years of playing music for silent movies in this and other theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

The September 20, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World gives the opening date of the Liberty Theatre as August 30. The Moore Amusement Company house featured vaudeville and pictures:

“Governor Hart made a speech of welcome at the Olympia opening, and after the show dancing was enjoyed on the stage by out of town guests. The Liberty will house Ackerman and Harris vaudeville and feature pictures. It is under the direction of Jensen & Von Herberg. H. T. Moore is manager of the Moore Amusement Co.”

rivest266 on March 20, 2022 at 5:20 am

Grand opening ad as Liberty from August 30th, 1924, posted.

JackCoursey on May 13, 2022 at 12:00 am

Wish that I could have seen this theatre in its original incarnation. The current rendering is a sterile, bland, 80’s style industrial motif. On the plus side, plenty of leg room.

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