On January 18, 1926, Cols. Carl Loth and James Patterson opened the doors on Waynesboro’s first vaudeville/silent movie theatre. Its neo-classical façade, fashionable interior, and mighty organ were the wonders of the day. Seeking to take advantage of the post-war boom, the management gutted and expanded the original auditorium in 1949, effectively doubling the seating. Along with a new concession/lounge area and bathrooms the Wayne continued as the entertainment center for the community. In 1980, a fire began in the concession area and travelled upward into the balcony. The conflagration allowed the owners to remodel the auditorium and divide it into two theatres. Twenty years later the management decided to withdraw from the Waynesboro entertainment market and turned the Wayne Theatre over to the city.
In 2000, Waynesboro City Council created the Wayne Theatre Alliance and empowered the group to oversee the revitalization of the Wayne Theatre and with it downtown Waynesboro. In a few short months, the Wayne Theatre Alliance incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit and began the journey of making the Wayne not just a movie house, but a center for entertainment and conferences. The mission of the Wayne Theatre Alliance is to enhance the artistic, cultural, educational and economic life of Waynesboro and the surrounding area through the operation of the Wayne Theatre, production of cultural events and partnerships with local, regional and state organizations. From August 2011 to June 2014, the Wayne Theatre Alliance operated a temporary performance venue, WTA’s Gateway. With funding well underway, the focus has returned to the restoration of the Wayne Theatre with an opening date of spring 2016.
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