The Strand Theatre in Rockland, Maine
The Strand Theatre has risen from ashes several times in its history, both literally and figuratively. When four city blocks of Rockland burned to the ground on July 16, 1922, the Strand Theatre was the first building to be built and in just six short weeks. The theatre opened to the public on February 21, 1923 with a sold out showing of the silent film, My Wild Irish Rose.
The interminable little theatre, one of three movie cinemas on Rockland’s Main Street in that era, was started in the ’20s, but the only one to survive both the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the invention of television in the 1950’s. By the 1960’s, the Strand was the only game in town. And that would hold true for the next thirty years! In 1979, the theatre was split into two cinemas allowing for more flexibility in showings and also more revenue.
The Strand was still going strong when a multi-plex cinema moved into the area. Then it was hard times for the beautiful old theatre. The multi-plex bought The Strand and then allowed her to sit empty and decaying for three years.
The citizens of Rockland wanted their Strand Theatre back. It was the Simmons Family that came to the rescue. After an 18-month renovation, she again rose to her former grand self. Back to her 1920’s character, but with some modern upgrades, The Strand reopened on July 3, 2005 with the city of Rockland there to help celebrate. The Strand Theatre is now a non-profit organization run and supported by The Friends of The Strand.
Once again the cultural heart of Rockland, the Strand offers innovative films, live performances, and educational events. With showings of the Met Opera, popular films, comedians, live musical performances, ballet, and local amateur performers, there is something for everyone. So buy a ticket to a show, but make sure to take a moment to look around at Rockland’s gem of a theatre… it is a beautiful venue in an historic building with an amazing history.
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