Once home to silent films, the magnificent historic theaters across Hawaii have a story to tell. While many have been repurposed and refurbished over the years, they still hold onto their charm of decades’ past. For live theater, concerts, and film festivals, check out these six historic in theaters in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Theatre holds a lot of records. It is the second largest theatre in the state and the only remaining Vaudevillian theatre in Hawaii. It was built in 1922 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was fully restored and renovated in 1992, so present-day visitors can enjoy plays, concerts, and varying performances on the historic stage with its red velvet curtains and vaulted ceilings. The exterior is also a sight to behold with very eye catching neon lighting.
Palace Theater opened as a grand movie palace in 1925 by the Hawaiian businessman Adam C. Baker. Notably, the theater was constructed all of redwood trees and features Neo-Classical design features. After closing for several years, the Palace Theater was renovated and reopened in 1999 with an international film festival. The theater currently shows new and classic movies.
Iao Theater follows the architectural style of Spanish Mission, with a large front balcony featuring prominently on the façade. The theater was built in 1928 and once held performances by Frank Sinatra, Mickey Rooney, and Bob Hope. After being shut down in the 1980s, the Iao Theater was restored in 1995 and included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1930, the Hanoka’a People’s Theatre was the largest on the island at that time. It frequently showed Hollywood and international films to please the diversity of peoples on the island. The theatre closed in 1988 and was eventually purchased by a local doctor who restored the building’s interior and exterior. The theatre re-opened again in the 1990s and has since held music festivals, and concerts as well as mainstream and indie films.
The Aloha Theatre is unique among the theaters on this list as it is the home for the performing arts group called the Aloha Performing Arts Company. The theatre itself was built in 1932, and faced minor damage during a fire in 1948. It often showed both silent and talking movies during its heyday. Currently, the company uses it often to host live performances and community outreach in the arts.
The Waimea Theater is eye-catching with its green spire, but would you guess that it was originally built in 1938 and was the first with electric lights outdoors on the island? The original building was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1992, but was restored in the 1990s. It reopened in 1999 and has been showing movies in its historic interiors since. It also sometimes hosts live performances and international film festivals.