Auditorium Theatre

122 N. Fourth Street,
Norfolk, NE 68701

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Additional Info

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Norfolk Auditorium

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The Norfolk opera house plans of the late-1890’s morphed to what would become the Norfolk Auditorium - a multipurpose facility designed primarily to house live entertainment but also to host conventions and trade shows. The venue launched January 15, 1900 with the Walker Whiteside presentation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.

In 1907, the venue received a refresh and was reporting capacity at 1,200 seats. That same year, Norfolk got its first movie theatre followed by another in 1909. Entertainment revenue was beginning to flow away from the Norfolk Auditorium. The War years saw opera houses and auditoriums struggle in the small- and medium-sized marketplace and the Norfolk Auditorium was among them. After the War, the venue would be used increasingly for films.

In 1920, Hostettler Amusement Circuit took on the location and, after a refresh, officially changed its name to the Auditorium Theatre with regular movie exhibition. Hostettler controlled the marketplace with the Auditorium Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Grand Theatre and, opening in 1927, the Granada Theatre.

As sound was coming to the medium of film, the Auditorium Theatre was at a crossroads especially with the addition of the 1,000+ seat Granada Theatre. The Auditorium Theatre was deemed the wrong place for sound films and was closed. In 1928, the venue was gutted and became unrecognizable in its new function as a location for a Montgomery Ward’s retail store.

In the late-1930’s, the city decided it once again needed a municipal auditorium. A brand new auditorium was dedicated in 1939.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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