Nonprofit group announces purchase of West Bend Theatre
Historic building has been closed since 2006

Daily News Staff

July 17, 2017

Members of the board of directors of Historic West Bend Theatre Inc. each raised a glass of champagne to celebrate the purchase of the downtown movie house. From left are Nic Novaczyk (ex-officio), Laura Mitchell, Brooke Ziegler Novaczyk, Sue Millin, Ric Hartman, Teri Milligan, Lisa Rowe, president, and John Sancomb. Board members not present were Kine Torinus, vice president, Bill Buettner, Barry Bertram and Chris Yogerst.
Submitted photo

The Historic West Bend Theatre Inc. announced Friday it purchased the West Bend Theatre and plans to restore the downtown facility that was built in 1929.

The nonprofit corporation acquired the property from Ascendant Holdings, which is managed by Matt Prescott.

“We are grateful to Matt Prescott for stepping up to save this beautiful and historic building so that our community may continue to create wonderful memories for years to come,” HWBT president Lisa Rowe said in a news release.

The theatre has remained closed since 2006. The board of directors now in control of the building plans to create a multi-purpose venue to offer classic and kids movie showings, plays, live music performances, comedy acts and a space for events.

The group retained architect Scott Georgeson, who holds a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is a fellow in the American Institute of Architects. He specializes in theatre restoration and renovation.

Georgeson’s portfolio includes the restoration of more than 150 theatres, including the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Schauer Arts & Activity Center in Hartford, the Door County Peninsula Players, the Skylight Opera in Milwaukee and the Weidner Center in Green Bay.

“This building is an architectural gem. It has great bones and wonderful acoustics,” Georgeson said in a news release. “The height and width of the auditorium are ideal for unamplified music, choral, jazz and unplugged pop groups. Bringing the historic theatre back to life as a flexible venue will be an incredible community asset.” The organization plans to seek support after they launch a crowdfunding campaign so the community can “participate in the acquisitions and development costs.” This will be headed by Brooke Ziegler Novaczyk and Nic Novaczyk.