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The Hamburg Strand
Theater Gets New Life
Deena Kershner, Program Manager - Historic Hamburg


fter purchasing the Hamburg Strand
Theater in March of 2013, Our Town
Foundation knew they had a long
road ahead of them in restoring the property
as a useable theater. Major problems existed
in this nostalgic, single screen theater, and
without doing the necessary renovations the
theater would not survive. The building that
houses the Theater was built in 1799 and
was one of the first properties to be built
in the Borough when the town was laid
out. Located at 6 South 4th Street, it was a
federal-style house, which was later turned
into a restaurant before being converted to
the theater in 1920.

During their first week of ownership, a
heavy rain ensued causing excessive leaks
in the roof. "It was like someone turned on
numerous spigots; the water was pouring in
and we needed to place buckets and tarps
everywhere," said Deena Kershner, Executive
Director of the Foundation. Within a few
weeks the entire theater roof was replaced
at a cost of over $30,000.
But that was only the first of many improvements to be made
over the next five years. After prioritizing a "must do" list and getting
estimates for each project, the Foundation's Theater Committee
kicked off a capital campaign in October of 2014 with a goal of
raising $200,000. By the end of 2017 the goal was reached! Businesses
and residents were quick to donate, and as fast as the money was
received it was allocated to the next project. In addition to the
theater roof being replaced a new digital projection system and
Dolby surround sound system were installed, two new bathrooms
were built on the main level, hardwood flooring was placed on the
stage, the historic neon marquee and entry doors were refurbished,
and several mini split units were installed to provide better heating
and cooling. A fresh coat of paint (both exterior and interior) also
spruced up the property.

"But there is still more to be done!
There is money set aside from the capital campaign to improve the interior
lighting and to possibly convert the
rear garage into a changing area for
performers," states Kershner. "We are
in the process of obtaining estimates
for these improvements."
The effor ts of Our Town
Foundation have paid off. Record
numbers of people are flocking to
see first run movies on the big screen.
In addition to showing movies five
days of the week, the Foundation has
hosted several performing groups over
the past three years as well. There is
also a "party room" that is available
for rentals, which has turned out to
be a popular birthday party venue
for kids. The party room also serves as a classroom for activities
sponsored by the Hamburg Area Arts Alliance, another branch of
the Our Town Foundation. The Foundation's goal is to have the
theater open to the public every day of the week, either for film or
live shows. Movie ticket prices remain low at $5 for kids and $7 for
adults, with live performances averaging $10 per ticket.
For information on upcoming shows at the Hamburg Strand,
please visit or contact the Our Town Foundation
at 610-562-3106.


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