~~Five years from now, Rupert’s Wilson Theatre will celebrate its 100th Birthday.
This incredible performance center, originally designed and built in 1920, has hosted vaudeville, musical performances, plays, and movies through many decades of Idaho history. In January 2000 a complete renovation began to bring the theatre back to life and its original splendor. In 2001 the Historic Wilson Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past 15 years, no detail has been spared in re-creating the original art and architecture. The acoustical brilliance of this theatre will delight performers and audiences alike. A great venue has been created for the community of Southern Idaho and for all to enjoy from near and far.
Located on Rupert’s Town Square, the Theatre also offers ideal spaces for meetings, conventions, and art exhibits in an inviting setting. Please contact (link) for more information and to make reservations for your event. We would love to have you.
Thank you to the many organizations and generous private donors for the vision, passion and care which have brought this amazing facility back to the community. Although now very functional, we are still putting in place final touches. If you would like to donate, please contact us we would be delighted to have your help.
In 2020, in just five years from now, Rupert’s Wilson Theatre will celebrate its 100th Birthday.
This past century generated a wealth of history for this incredible performance center. In January 2000, a complete renovation began to bring the theatre back to life, to its original splendor with construction occurring over the past fifteen years.
The Historic Wilson Theatre has undergone a restoration almost in entirety. Only a few items remain,, with the support of the community and the devoted team of people who work continually restoring all the elements of the theatre.
Our mission is to complete the restoration and transformation of the Wilson Building & Theatre, and create an innovative multi-purpose Community Center.
Our vision is to meet the needs and desires of our local people to provide quality cultural resources through arts, education, social and economic development.
Our goal is three fold: To bring together human resources for developing talents, learning new skills, and enriching the quality of life; to create a catalyst for revitalization of our community; and to continue the creative spirit of those who developed this region, established our city and created this facility, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Wilson Building & Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 2001.
It all began in 1920
Daniel Ward and Mennie Wilson had a dream of building a beautiful and unique opera house in Rupert, Idaho. That dream became a reality in 1920.
World War I was over, the soldiers were home, and it was a time of renaissance—not only for the country, but for the little town of Rupert, Idaho.
The Wilson Theatre opened on August 25, 1920. It was a vaudeville theatre at first, but was soon showing movies with stars of the silent screen such as Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. The theatre was also used for local plays and high school productions and soon began showing “talkies” as movies with sound tracks were called then. The building was also used for conventions, community meetings, and church events. Even the clerk for the City of Rupert was housed in the Wilson until City Hall was built in 1939.
In 1997, a volunteer group of businessmen established a community development committee called the Rupert Renaissance Initiative (RRI). The Initiative was a three-year project to gather information from citizens about the future they wanted for Rupert. To achieve this goal, the RRI had three “Vision Fairs”. Through these events, it was discovered that the citizens wanted more arts, cultural opportunities, and diversification of the economy. That information led to the decision to purchase and renovate the Historic Wilson Building & Theatre and to create, in 2000, the Renaissance Arts Center, Inc., a non-profit organization.
A feasibility study by Myers/Anderson Architects of Pocatello determined that the building was in stable condition and had maintained much of its integrity since it was built in 1919-1920.
The Wilson Building & Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 2001. The renovation and restoration has been funded by grants, donations and fundraisers. No local tax dollars have been used for this project.