Mount Baker Theatre invites the community to help celebrate 90 years of the beloved downtown Bellingham landmark with an open house. The event will take place May 5, 2017 from 3 – 5 p.m. Attendees can expect birthday cake, historical information from tour docents, two screenings of a video project about MBT’s history from local muralist Lanny Little, and a short public presentation by local dignitaries. The event is free of charge and does not require advance reservations.
Open house hours are 3 – 5 p.m. Video screenings will be in the Walton Theatre, and will begin at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The official celebratory announcement from dignitaries will occur around 4:45 p.m. The event is free of charge and non-ticketed, all ages welcome.
MBT will officially turn 90 years old on Saturday, April 29. The true birthday gift that began as a luxe movie palace in 1927, has evolved to become a thriving performing arts center in Bellingham’s downtown Arts District today.
Currently, MBT hosts over 110,000 people in more than 400 annual events across its three venues, but in the ‘80s MBT was slated for demolition. In a great example of civic partnership between city, county, and community, a new structure emerged: the city-owned facility is managed by the Mount Baker Theatre Corporation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. That ‘80s wrecking ball was set aside to make room for a gorgeous restoration and re-purpose of existing spaces done in phases to arrive at the gem of a building we see today.
The building gives our community access to various performing art shows throughout the year. Through the touring performances MBT presents, patrons can experience world-class entertainment without having to travel to New York, or even Seattle. The Wade Bennett King Education Series hosts over 16,000 school-aged children annually, with professional programming aimed to inspire while augmenting topics studied in more traditional school settings. Commercial renters bring famous acts, festivals, and their attendees into the building and the town.
“Access” is not limited to entertainment from afar, but to the building itself as a world-class facility for local presenters. Our professionally-managed historic stage hosts the little feet of local dance students, the “walks” of various college graduates, and well-heeled speakers from various civic and community groups. From ski films to local authors, the stunning theatrical setting can make local events “big.”
But Mount Baker Theatre is more than events with tickets. The community spaces act as an anchor for downtown Bellingham’s Arts District. Performances, rehearsals, keynote speakers, meetings, and more happen on the Main Stage, in the “black box” Walton Theatre, and in the 1,200-square foot Encore Room. Many community arts nonprofits take advantage of the program that allows free use of the Encore room. There is usually something happening in the building in addition to our all-audience ticketed shows.