The Strand Theatre is a treasure for the arts in Shreveport/Bossier and one of our favorite places to catch a show. So, how much do you know about this historic ‘movie palace’ turned performing arts venue? Here are some facts about The Strand Theatre:
1. “The Movie Palace”
Long before touring shows visited the Shreveport’s Strand Theatre, the building was first opened in 1925 as a single-screen movie theater. While films aren’t normally screened here anymore, old “Mighty 90” film projectors are still housed in the projecting booth. We think it would be pretty neat to watch a movie in box seats!
2. The coolest place in town
Back when the theatre opened, it was fully-electric and one of the first places in the area to be equipped with air conditioning. Back then, the “AC’ consisted of big blocks of ice and high-powered fans to get the job done. Considering this theatre opened in August, 1925, we’re guessing that the AC was much appreciated.
3. State of the Arts
Did you know The Strand Theatre is the “Official State Theatre” of Louisiana? We’re proud to have this gem of an arts venue here in Northwest LA.
4. Seeing Double?
While the Strand is one-of-a-kind, it has inspired plenty of other theatres across the southern United States, and even internationally. The building’s designers, brothers Julian and Abe Saenger designed plenty of theatres after they completed the Strand, including the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
5. Musing at Muses
Part of the theatre’s “Movie Palace Baroque” design style includes six large murals of the Greek muses along the main walls. These have been present throughout the theatre’s existence and were most recently painted in 1993 by local artist Donna Moore.
6. To box, or not to box?
One of our favorite features of The Strand Theatre are its iconic box seats, however there was a time when patrons wouldn’t be able to sit here. At some point, the sits were removed to make added room for the latest craze in showbusiness: widescreen movies. Thankfully, when the theatre underwent a major renovation in the 70’s, the seats were brought back as faithfully as possible to their original design.
7. (LED) Lights, Camera Action!
It’s hard not to notice the massive 14ft. chandelier at the center of the theatre. But did you know, in addition to being beautiful, it’s energy efficient too? A few years ago, the bulbs in the chandelier were swapped out for more sensible LED lights to save on power usage. It’s a labor-intensive process to lower the chandelier down by crank, switch out the bulbs and clean the chandelier, but the end result is priceless.
Can you imagine shutting the doors to the “State Theatre of Louisiana?” Unfortunately, it happened in March of 2020. Check out this video to see what the moment was like when the curtains closed for over a year.
Are you dying to see a show at The Strand Theatre now? So are we. Thankfully, the new fall season launches on 7/16.
For more information, check out their website, here.
Interested in more historical places across the Ark-La-Tex? Check this out!