Aztec Shawnee Theater
11119 Johnson Drive,
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Aztec Shawnee Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Dickinson Theatres
Firms: Boller Brothers
Styles: Mission Revival
Previous Names: Mission Theater, Aztec Theater, Fine Arts Theater
This theater was designed by the Boller Brothers firm of Kansas City and was built by Marion Summerour, third mayor of Shawnee. It opened on Labor Day in 1927 as the Mission Theater with 500 seats.
Around 1942 under Dickinson Theatres, the name was changed to the Aztec Theater. The Aztec Theater operated under this name into the 1970’s, when it was purchased by the Pflumm family and the named was changed to Fine Arts Theater. It was closed for renovations July 20, 1975 with “What’s Up, Doc?”, but never reopened. After closing it was used as bank storage.
By 2005, the theater was being renovated by the Fine Arts Group to replace their previous Fine Arts Theater (now the Dickinson Top Two) a few miles away in Mission, KS. The marquee from the closed/demolished Plaza Theater, Abilene, KS was installed on the Fine Arts Theater. However, the Fine Arts Theater remained shuttered. Renovation work began again in January 2017.
In 2020 the Aztec Shawnee Theater reopened as a live entertainment theatre. The theater screened its first movie in 46 years when it screened Bela Lugosi in “Dracula” on October 27, 2021. It was a sold out performance which was repeated on November 10, 2021 and the operators of the theatre now screen regular performances of more classic movies.
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