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The Earl Smith Strand Theater

The Strand Theater in Marietta, Georgia, is a multi-use performing arts and cinema complex. The Earl Smith Strand Theater, a nonprofit arts organization specializing in live theater, vintage movies, concerts, comedy, and other special events, was originally erected in 1935 by the Manning-Winks Theater Company as an art deco cinema palace. In historic Marietta Square, the Strand Theater is located on the corner of North Park Square and Cherokee Street. In 1935, the Strand opened as a cinema theater on Marietta Square. It was built for $150,000 and quickly became renowned as the most sophisticated theater outside of Atlanta, complete with heating, air conditioning, 1,000 seats, and a superb sound system. The Strand underwent a complete renovation in 1964 and closed as a movie theater in 1976. Several businesses were housed in the structure between 1982 and 2002. Friends of The Strand Inc. was founded in 2002 with the goal of restoring the historic theater to its former grandeur. The Friends of The Strand Inc. began a $5 million fundraising campaign “Bring Back The Strand” in 2004 to repair the theater and cover the theater’s first operating costs. The next year, the group expanded the plans to include two greeting halls and a rooftop patio. As the demolition and restoration work progressed, further fundraising efforts included seat sponsorships and a brick campaign. Renovations were completed by November 2008, and The Strand reopened on December 5, 2008, with a performance of “Beauty and the Beast” by the Atlanta Lyric Theater. The Earl Smith Strand Theater reopened officially in January 2009. The Strand was renamed The Earl Smith Strand Theater when the remodeling was completed. The restoration of the Strand has given fresh vitality to Marietta’s performing arts community, not only by providing a venue for concerts, traveling shows, and special events but also by expanding arts and music programs throughout the downtown area. They manage between 350 and 400 public and private events every year. Each year, the Strand puts on three shows: a summer musical, a Christmas revue, and an early summer production involving high school students. It also held a well-attended silent cinema festival last year. In addition to the auditorium, two event rooms provide regular entertainment and have become popular hangout spots for residents. On the second level, the Lumiere Lounge, a silent film-themed venue that seats 35 to 40 people, features open-mike comedy every Wednesday night and open-mike music every Thursday night. On Friday and Saturday nights, a pianist performs. From April through October, live music is performed on the roof-top patio on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as Sunday afternoons.

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