Historic Hemet Theatre receives recognition for its community enrichment
■ By Susan Carrier / Contributed
Last week the Historic Hemet Theatre Foundation ended its 2017-2018 fiscal year, closing the books on a big year for the valley’s acclaimed Community Arts Center. Topping off a year of achievements was the announcement made June 29 that the foundation had been voted “Nonprofit of the Year” by the members of the Hemet San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce.
This will be the second time that the Chamber has presented this award to the HHT Foundation; the first was in 2015 as the venue was just beginning to gain popularity. Chamber awards have boosted community awareness and helped the foundation raise funds toward its mission to preserve the 1921 movie house, enrich the local culture with the arts, and revitalize Hemet’s Downtown District.
During its sixth year of operations, HHT hosted 134 events including 20 shows in their popular Tribute Mania Concert series. The series brings top tribute bands to the old movie house where great acoustics, a huge dance floor, and an enthusiastic audience combine to create one of the best concert venues in Southern California.
This year more than a dozen organizations have used the theatre to raise money or host free programs for the community. Over 100 local residents volunteer their time to staff the shows and maintain the facility.
In March 2018, the foundation completed the purchase of the old moviehouse and began the extensive process of renovating the 97 year-old theatre. Auditorium seats already have been replaced with plush seats donated by the Academy Theatre in North Hollywood. Volunteers will soon be installing updated surround-sound speakers and projection equipment. The lobby will also receive a much-needed paint job with new carpeting, and funds are currently being raised to update the restrooms and upgrade the green room for performers.
There are a variety of ways supporters can get involved. The Century Club is a fundraiser that is providing the funds needed for renovations from the top of the roof to the bottom of the auditorium in time for the theatre’s 100th birthday in 2021. Donors that pledge at least $500 will receive recognition on a permanent plaque in the lobby, recognizing those that help prepare HHT for its next century serving the community.
Sponsors of the Tribute Mania Concert Series receive recognition during concert events and can receive special incentives, including free tickets, promotion on concert flyers, and a wall banner on the side of the theatre. Local business can also get involved by donating a gift basket for the Building Fund Raffles held at each major event.
The Tribute Mania Concert Series at HHT continues this week with Kenny Cetera’s Chicago Experience on Saturday July 7, followed by a Tribute to The Bee Gees with Bee Gees Gold on Saturday July 14. Showtime for all Tribute Mania concerts is 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $22 presale and $25 day of show.
HHT also features classic films for $5 every Monday and Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Coming up on Monday July 9, Charlie’s (Big Hearted) Aunt (1940) starring Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, and Graham Moffatt, and on Tuesday July 10, Charlie Chan’s Secret (1935) starring Warner Oland, Rosina Lawrence, and Charles Quigley.
Information on all theatre events is available at www.HistoricHemetTheatre.com or by calling the ticket office, (951) 658-5950. Event tickets are available online for purchase at www.PurplePass.com or at the theatre ticket office. Ticket office hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m to 6 p.m. Tickets are also available at the Downtown Deli, 113 N Harvard St and the Harvard Street Music Exchange, 134 S Harvard St.