By: Chelsea Marquis, Staff Writer
The State Theatre, located at 609 Congress Street in Portland, was opened on November 8, 1929. It is the longest standing music venue in Portland, and In the 90 years it has been open, it has gone through significant changes.
Originally, the theater featured plays and films. In the late 1970s, it was a pornographic movie house. It closed again in 1990 due to disrepair and was reopened as a dine-in cinema later in the 1990s. The theater was closed by the city in the mid-2000s, until it was bought, remodeled, and reopened in 2010 by its current company, Crobo LLC. For the past nine years, it has been a concert venue.
“I’m pretty psyched that we’re 90. And we’ve had so many uses. We like being a concert venue now”, said Lauren Wayne, the general manager of the State Theater.
According to Wayne, the lineup at the State Theatre is varied to maintain public interest because the venue is large, with an 1800 person capacity. Seating depends on the show–about half of the shows are seated, and the other half are standing.
There are two floors to choose from. Sitting from the upper levels, there is a strange, magical feeling watching a concert from so high up, but the bass notes still causing reverb in the floor beneath. A bar can be found on both floors, so there is no need to get lost downstairs looking for a drink.
The interior is preserved in its original aesthetic. An original tapestry from 1929 depicting a woman on a horse with her lover hangs on the wall of the lobby. The decorative ceramic tiles on the walls are also part of the original construction. Most interior elements are part of the initial design of the building, though the seats have been replaced a few times throughout the years.
The venue has a proscenium stage, meaning the opening where the bands perform is framed by an arch of ornate woodwork.
Crobo LLC, the company that owns the State Theatre, also owns Port City Music Hall and Thompson’s Point. Between the three venues, there are about 260 shows a year.
Port City Music Hall is located down the road, at 504 Congress Street. It is the smallest of the three and has more rock and indie shows.
Thompson’s Point, at 10 Thompson Point Road in Portland, is an outdoor venue open in the summer near the Portland Transportation Center, with views of the Fore River and sunsets during evening concerts. Thompson’s Point lineup is curated towards older generations. Folding chairs can be brought in as seats, or there is plenty of lawn space to either stand or stretch out on. Food trucks park around the field, so food is never far. There are also other events there throughout the winter and spring, such as an ice-skating rink.
To see their current line ups, go to https://statetheatreportland.com/calendar/, where it shows upcoming events for all three venues on one calendar.