The Ute Theatre was originally built in 1916 by Judd Keyes. It began as a Livery Stable. In the late 40's Ross Lambert bought it and added the second story and built what is now, The Historic Ute Theatre.
According to long time locals, the Theatre had it's hayday in the 50's (much like most of our country) One old time photo shows the lines of people wrapped around the block, as these were the days when people visited the theatre for not only entertainment but for current news reels as well. The theatre has come in and out of ownership and leasing over the years, managing only to remain open for about a year at a time.
In 2003 my husband and I bought property outside of Saguache in hopes of retiring there someday. The theatre was open and showing top run films on the weekends. Within a few months the theatre closed. In the fall of 2008 my father passed away, and my choice was this; I could put tmy portion of the money from the sale of his house in a CD, or (go the crazy route ) and buy a Theatre.
The town of Saguache is home to about 600 people. I originally showed top run movies every weekend including a matinee. I continued this for about 18 months realizing weekly that it was increasingly difficult to make enough money to even cover the cost of getting a top run film to the theatre. By the end of the18 months I had to close and rethink this venture.
I had become friends with a local woman, Virginia Drake, who had a passion for theatre. She formed a local Theatre Company and struggled to find a venue for it, actually leasing this theatre while it was closed, to host the one or two performances she put on. Since I open The Historic Ute Theatre, it is now the home of The San Luis Valley Theatre Company. (a non profit under ScSEED). They put on 5 productions per year, including Vaudeville, Childrens, Melodrama, and Christimas. They have also offered theatrical workshops.
The 2011 Season has a new schedule. We are no longer limited to just top run films. We have partnered with ScSeed who graciously sponsores the Rocky Mountain PBS Independent Lens series of Community Cinema. These are free screenings available to the community on current social issues. They are shown during the PBS season (9 months) on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm, and host a panel of guests for discussion after the conclusion of the film.
I have introduced Live Music to the schedule hoping to offer this once a month. In addition to that we have also contracted a Comedy Improve Troupe. We are also looking at hosting Wii games, including a bowing league. The theatre is also available for lease for birthday parties, meetings, family reunions, or just a fun night out to watch a movie or play xbox or karaoke on the big screen. We have a full line of concessions along with hot foods.
When you step into the Historic Ute Theatre through the tourquoise double doors, you step into the 50's, the past, where life was a little easier, a little simpler- candy apple red, canary yellow and smiles....