Hutchinson's Historic Fox Theatre
18 East First Avenue
The Hutchinson's Historic Fox Theatre is a regional center for the arts dedicated to the expression of the human spirit through quality entertainment and educational programming.
Hutchinson's Historic Fox Theatre is part of a national heritage. It isn't just a theatre, it is a movie palace, part of a social, architectural, and entertainment movement that saw its' heyday between 1915 and 1945. Movie palaces were intended to showcase and reflect the movie industry itself; they were intended to be larger than life. And the history of the Fox is indeed larger than life!
Boller Brothers built the Fox and upon completion, Hutchinson saw a party the likes of which had never been seen before. Local citizens saw the need for a new theatre and had invested $400,000 to build a state-of-the-art movie theatre/vaudeville house. It was the largest movie palace between Kansas City and Denver. The Fox helped the community shake the depression dust off of its feet with a weeklong celebration leading up to the June 8, 1931 grand opening.
The Fox Theatre is considered one of the finest examples of theatre art deco architecture in the Central United States. In 1994 the Fox Theatre was named the State Movie Palace of Kansas by the State Legislation. The Fox is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the state register and is a local landmark. It seats 1221.
The marquee was the first flashing display of neon in Kansas and is one of the few surviving, original, functioning marquees in the country.
Two films shot near Hutchinson premiered at the Fox Theatre with the cast appearing at the event - "Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie" in 1953 and "Picnic" in 1955.
The theatre stood empty between 1985 and 1990 when Hutchinson's Historic Theatre, Inc., a non-profit corporation, purchased it. On January 30, 1999, we gathered again to celebrate the rebirth of the Fox as a regional center for the performing arts following a $4.5 million restoration. This began a new era and new vision for the theatre - one that will continue to celebrate a rich heritage and enrich the lives of future generations.
And that new era continues with a season subscription series; "By the Bus", educational program; a film series; and increased use of the theatre by local organizations, civic and religious groups. Together, we can build a tradition of excellence in the arts.
Hutchinson's Historic Fox Theatre is a non-profit corporation. It has a seventeen member Board of Director's, two full-time and four part-time staff members; an "on-call" technical crew and over sixty volunteers.