Princess Theatre, Decatur
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The Princess Theatre in July 2010
|Address||112 Second Avenue NE|
|Type||Performing arts center|
|Opened||December 30, 1919|
|Owner||City of Decatur|
|Architect||Albert Frahn (1941 renovation)|
|Architectural style||Art Deco|
|Designated ARLH||October 23, 1981|
The Princess Theatre is a 677-seat performing arts venue in Decatur, Alabama. What is now an art deco style building was built as a livery stable in 1887. In 1919, the building was transformed into a silent film and vaudeville playhouse.
The Princess was given a facelift in 1941 and was transformed to the art deco style building it is today. The theatre was also given a bright neon marque to display the name of the venue. Local architect Albert Frahn clad the walls inside the theatre with burgundy and gray paint, and also painted murals on the wall that would glow in dark. Outside the doors, the floor was paved with terrazzo into a map of Alabama, that marked the Tennessee River and City of Decatur.
In 1978, the city of Decatur purchased The Princess after it closed its doors as a movie-house. The city gave the theatre a $750,000 renovation, and the stage was again open as the premier performing arts venue for the Decatur area. The building was listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in 1981.
The Princess and education
Annually, the Princess sees 60,000 customers, 20,000 of which are students and teachers. Professional performers regularly visit Decatur to perform during school hours for arts education. The theater also sponsors performers that visit the local Decatur City Schools to teach in the schools.
Future renovation and restoration efforts
The City of Decatur completed renovation in the Sexton Lobby and in the future to restore The Princess to the way it looked during the time period of the 1950s and 1960s. This includes removing paint that covers the murals painted by Albert Frahn. Efforts have created a large reception area adjacent and connected to the main theatre. It includes additional second floor access, concessions, restrooms, dressing rooms, as well as a second entrance to the building was completed in April 2009.
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