275 S. Main Street,
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Soper Reese Theatre (Official)
Architects: Vincent G. Raney
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Lakeport Theatre
The Lakeport Theatre opened in 1949, and was designed by San Francisco theatre architect Vincent G. Raney for owner Leo Reese, who had operated Lakeport’s Orpheum Theatre for twenty years.
When construction on the Lakeport had recently begun, the building was described in an article in the October 2, 1948, issue of Boxoffice magazine as being built of Bakelite blocks with a rough stucco finish on the exterior. Raney designed the house with a section of stadium seating, to maximize capacity on the fairly small building site. The completed house had about 600 seats.
The Lakeport Theatre operated as a movie house for nearly half a century, closing in the 1990’s. In 1997, the building was purchased by the Lake County Arts Council, with a donation by Jim and Florence Soper, and renovations were begun to convert the space into a community performing arts center. The theatre was designated a Lakeport Historic Building by the city in 2000.
The theatre has operated intermittently as a live performance venue while undergoing renovations. The first phase of renovation was completed in 2008, and the house is now in use for live performances and for theatre classes of Mendocino College. Funds are being raised for further renovations.
Despite considerable alteration, some period features remain in the house, including the entrance doors with their Art Moderne floral pattern etched glass.
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