Volunteers help get historic Hemet Theatre ready to reopen in time for 100th anniversary

HEMET, Calif. (KABC) -- The historic Hemet Theatre has been a part of the community for nearly 100 years. And it's getting ready to reopen after being closed for more than a year due to the pandemic. Slowly but surely, the historic building is coming back to life. And volunteers like Dennie Ortiz are helping to make it happen.

"I built the concession stand behind me. I'm getting ready to build a popcorn stand. I built this new ticket area," said Ortiz.

The theater is 100 years old this year, and crews are racing to get it cleaned up for its anniversary.

"This is one of the 10 oldest theaters in the country. By far the most historic building in this town," said Susan Carrier, CEO Hemet Theatre.



The theater still serves as a concert venue, but the goal is to bring it back as a movie house, too. It is a center piece of this community, which is trying to come back from some tough economic times.

"Being in this theater, you would see everyone in the community," said Carrier. "And there would be a closeness. And I thought, what if, this theater could do that again."

If the volunteers helping to restore the theater are any indication - it's working. People are donating time, money, even equipment. One thing they don't have to worry about is the building itself.

"Mr. Martin when he built it, he built it like a fortress, the walls are very reinforced. It has survived all the earthquakes so far," said Ray Rodriguez, Hemet Theatre director.

And with the work underway, everyone here is hoping it survives another 100 years as the heart of this community trying to make a comeback.
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