Learn all about STAGE & the State Theatre

A little introduction…

About the State Theatre

Built in 1928, the Oroville State Theatre was one of several California movie palaces commissioned by the Nasser Brothers and designed by notable San Francisco architect, Timothy Pflueger, including the Castro Theatre, no. 100 on the San Francisco list of Historic Landmarks. The late 1920s were a period of prosperity in Oroville, reflected by a number of major building commissions, an abundant agricultural industry and ultimately the gold rush which lent support to Oroville’s economy during the early years of the Great Depression.

Over time the City of Oroville has experienced economic peaks of strength and growth as well as the turbulence of struggles and challenges. The fate of the theatre has been passenger to that roller coaster ride. During one downturn, the Theatre was sold to United Artists who modernized several aspects of the theatre, but with considerable loss to the interior detail and damage to the Theatre’s infrastructure. UA held the Theatre for only a short time before seeking to divest itself of the project.

In 2014, the Oroville City Council voted unanimously to approve a contract allowing the nonprofit State Theatre Arts Guild (STAGE) to operate and manage the Oroville State Theatre. A series of extensive restoration and upgrade projects were undertaken to return the theatre building to its art deco origins and to preserve what remained of the original design and artwork. This culminated in the eventual transfer of ownership of the theatre from the City of Oroville to STAGE in 2021.

Today, the theatre provides several types of services: live performances featuring celebrated artists; co-sponsored performances as a collaboration between two or more local organizations; and a rentable venue for community and school events such as graduations, recitals and city meetings.

If you’re interested in learning more about the theatre, be sure to check out our 3D Virtual Tour and the History and Architecture of the building.

About STAGE, the Nonprofit Organization Behind the State Theatre

The State Theatre Arts Guild (STAGE) was formed in the early 1970’s and was originally called the Oroville Community Center Committee. The original charter was to work with the City of Oroville to develop a performing arts center in its downtown district. When United Artists announced its intent to divest the State Theatre in the mid-1980s, the City of Oroville committed to purchasing the Theatre. Committee funds were given to the City to assist in the purchase, the initial remodel and operation of the Theatre.

What is the difference between STAGE and the State Theatre?

Incorporated in 1979, STAGE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation owned by the membership consisting primarily of the residents of greater Oroville (however, there are no residency requirements to be a member of STAGE).

After the city’s acquisition of the Theatre, STAGE remained a community organization that saw its role as that of guardian of the Theatre. STAGE has worked with the City to secure grants to restore the exterior façade and recreate the original marquee and raised funds to acquire and restore a Wurlitzer Theatre pipe organ to replace the original, a project which is already being enjoyed by theatre patrons. STAGE isn’t stopping there, however, and has an extensive restoration roadmap.

The City of Oroville eventually announced that it was unable to continue its support of the Historic Oroville State Theatre and on June 17, 2014, turned over the operation and management of the Theatre entirely to the State Theatre Arts Guild. It is STAGE’s vision to ensure the success of the Theatre, to bring it back to its purpose and potential as the “Jewel of the Historic Downtown District” and to spark a revival of economic prosperity for the Theatre, the business community and the City of Oroville as a whole.

Currently, STAGE has over 1,000 members on whom we rely in order to cover operating costs. With an annual membership starting at only $25 (individual) or $50 (family), you can become a member of STAGE and be part of the “Miracle on Myers Street”.

NEXT: Learn more about STAGE and the State Theatre’s Mission.