The historic State Theatre organization is committed to providing performing arts and films to enhance the cultural opportunities of all people throughout Mid-Michigan and beyond.

History of the State Theatre

Bijou (1908-1927)

The building was originally constructed in 1908 and was known as the Bijou Theatre. The Bijou had a full stage and flyloft and served a variety of live entertainment in the form of Vaudville and Burlesque shows. Around the late twenties, due the the rising popularity of film, the theatre was converted to a movie house and renamed the Orpheum.

Bay Theatre (1930-1960)

In 1930, the stucture received a major facelift bringing the interior to the form of today. The stagehouse was abandoned in favor of a movie screen. Much of the original structure still exists, buried under the walls of the current theatre. The theatre once again acquired a new name along with its makeover, becoming the Bay Theatre.

State Theatre (1960-2000)

In the 1960's, the original Bay marquee with its Mayan motif was replaced and the name changed once again to the State Theatre, as it is known today. The new marquee was much more modern, matching the look of many other movie houses and theatres of that time. The building was acquired by the Butterfield Theatre chain and was in need of some maintenance. The chain painted everything in the theatre with the same shade of brown, completely covering the Mayan artwork.

Recent History (2000-Present)

In 2000, the building was saved from the wrecking ball by the DDA and a group known as the Friends of the State Theatre. They brought the theatre back to life and began seeking donations and federal grants to raise the funds needed for capital improvements. Since that time, the interior of the theatre has been restored to the 1930s look and the lighting, sound and HVAC systems have all been brought up to current standards. Patrons may now enjoy live and film entertainment in a state-of-the-art facility.

Current Mission

The historic State Theatre organization is committed to providing performing arts and films to enhance the cultural opportunities of all people throughout Mid-Michigan and beyond.