Crute Stage

102 N. Main Street,
Farmville, VA 23901

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Additional Info

Architects: A.O. Budina

Functions: Movies (Classic), Performing Arts

Previous Names: Eaco Theatre, State Theatre

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Crute Stage

Originally called the Eaco Theatre, it opened during the World War I era and was in the typical opera house style of the time.

In 1940, the owners hired Richmond architect A.O. Budina to modernize the theatre, which would be re-named the State Theatre.

According to a report in the 1941 Film Daily Year Book: "The front portion of the house was completely gutted and several rows of seats were removed. A new foyer, lobby, and parlor were provided, together with powder room and the latest in toilet facilities. The entire auditorium was re-decorated in the Regency style, which seems to a vogue at present. The result is a very homey type of small theatre, and considered by qualified observers as a most successful one."

In the 1960’s? the roof collapsed. Ony the four walls survived and it now operates as an outdoor theatre during summer months, presenting performing arts and movies as the Crute Stage.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

marcw on November 3, 2007 at 7:51 am

The Crute (aka State) Theatre no longer exists, either — it burned to the ground. Again, I’m not sure of the date, but I suspect it was in the early 90’s. All that remains is the back wall of the theater and the screen.

kencmcintyre on September 12, 2008 at 11:38 am

It looks like this is an outdoor venue now, probably just a stage and backdrop. According to this site classic movies are shown in the summertime:

merryoaks on March 7, 2010 at 5:07 am

The Downtown Stage, called by some the Crute Stage, was originally the EACO Theater. It was named for the Entertainment and Amusement COmpany started by vet Dr. Witacher in Farmville. Several years later in 1935 he built the Lee Theatre across the street. In the late 90’s the EACO, then renamed the state and owned by a theater firm out of Richmond, collapsed from the weight of a snowstorm, it did not burn down. It is now an open stage owned by the Town of Farmville, and a free summer movie program is shown. You sit on the grass, movies are older classics, and they re shown on a new pulldown screen that is really a thick, white protective screen for the stage behind.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

The Historical Marker Database has a page that includes the inscription and photos from the EACO Theatre marker here. The text reads:

“On this site once stood the EACO Theatre. In 1921, Dr. L.D. Whitaker organized the Educational Amusement Company for the purpose of constructing a modern theatre. A capital stock of $40,000 was subscribed to by about 100 local citizens and the EACO Theatre was soon completed on the corner of Main and Fourth Street. In 1940, the Richmond based firm Neighborhood Theatres Inc., purchased the EACO Theatre and renamed it the State Theatre. The last organization to use the building was Farmville’s Theatre Group ‘The Waterworks Players’; this group continues to perform in the Town of Farmville. The theatre collapsed unexpectedly on February 11, 1994, thus ending a 72-year old landmark for entertainment in Farmville.”
When Community Theatres took over the Lee and EACO Theatres in 1940, a brief notice of their reopening under new management appeared in the August 5 issue of Motion Picture Daily. Among the guests at the event was the architect of the remodeling, A. O. Budina.

movie_buff on January 12, 2017 at 6:04 am

2017 marks the 20th year of the Stars Under the Stars outdoor movie series showing cinema’s greatest films at the Crute Stage. The stage is used throughout the year for numerous community events, concerts, and in keeping with history—movies! More information can be found at

We are grateful to have such a historic structure still in use in Farmville!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 6, 2021 at 9:42 am

During the 1950s the State Theatre had an admirable policy of running mostly newer American films Sun-Tues & Thurs-Sat while on Wednesdays they would show what they called a “Better films picture.” This would be a noted foreign film of the art house type. People could attend as part of a series ticket or else by regular single admission ticket. This would expand their programs beyond the restrictive policy of new domestic releases only.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 6, 2021 at 11:27 pm

The Neighborhood Theaters circuit took over operation of the Eaco and Lee theaters in 1940, according to an item in the July 11 issue of The Film Daily that year. The September 6 issue of the same journal said that “[t]he remodeled Eaco Theater will reopen this month under the name of State. Russell Williams is manager for Neighborhood Theater, Inc.”

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