September 1, 2014

Fundraiser set in effort to reopen Webster Theater

A fundraiser will be held tonight to help restore and reopen a near-century old theater in north-central Iowa. The Webster Theater in Webster City was built in 1906 as a vaudeville house and it started showing silent movies in 1916. After decades in the business, the theater went bankrupt and closed in 2013.

Kay Ross is one of the organizers of the non-profit group HERO, Help Entertain and Restore Organization, which purchased the building this January and hopes to return the 320-seat movie house to its former glory. “We’ve gotten some really nice donations from the businesses in Webster City and a lot of individuals have made some very generous donations also,” Ross says. “The community is very interested in getting the theater reopened.”

Donations have come from as far away as New York and Maryland and Ross says the fundraising is going well. “We’ve raised more than $93,000 and we still have money coming in and we’re very close to meeting our goal for the second phase,” Ross says. “We need to purchase a new digital projector, sound system and screen for the theater. We also have a lot of repairs and renovations that need to be done to the building.”

For $300, you can have your name placed on one of the seats. As for tonight’s fundraiser, old movie posters are being sold for $2 each. There are more than 500 posters that were stockpiled over the decades. The sale is from 5 to 7 P.M. Learn more at: www.webstertheater.org

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)