The Crighton Theatre is one of the most breath-taking buildings in Historic Downtown Conroe, TX. It is the home of outstanding performances offered by numerous performing arts groups, including the resident theater company, the Christian Youth Theatre, the Sounds of Texas Music Series and Stage-Right Productions. Additionally, the theatre is offered for rent for other events.
The historic building was erected in 1934. It flourished as a theater until the mid-1960s, when audiences suddenly seemed to be inclined towards wider and bigger screen venues such as drive-in theaters. The Crighton Theatre was finally restored, alongside other ornate downtown buildings. Today, it is the heartbeat of downtown Conroe and an impressive venue in which to catch a performance during your visit.
When oil was discovered in Montgomery County in the year 1934, Conroe then Mayor, Harry Crighton, sold his drug store and delved deep into the oil business. His prosperity in the business along with his high civic pride influenced a strong desire for a grand theater. In 1934 he hired a renowned architect by the name Blum Hester to construct a movie palace that matched the standards of the great Majestic Theatre (Houston). He insisted on the use of native stone similar to the capitol in Austin. Starring Pat O’Brien, “Stars Over Broadway”, was the featured attraction on the opening night of November 1935. Learners from Abel School of Dance also performed. Tickets were selling at 50 cents (adults) and 25 cents (children).
In a bid to accommodate vaudeville shows, Blum’s design allowed performances to be flown in the 40 ft. of space above the stage. However, vaudeville was at the brink of coming to an end Crighton never hosted this form of entertainment. Air conditioning made the Crighton Theatre extremely popular, especially during the hot Texas summers. The Crighton flourished for several years but as the modern wide screen theaters and drive-in theaters became popular the audiences grew smaller.
In 1976, Frank & Hallie Crighton G, the owners of the Crighton Theatre, considered the possibility of donating the venue to the County. After long discussions about the idea with their financial administrator, Chuck Stealey, they asked him to present the idea to Bruce Scott, president of the Conroe Chamber of Commerce.
The Crightons’ only main stipulations were that the that the theatre be predominantly used for the performing arts, Crighton name be maintained, and that the Little Theatre of Conroe be the resident theater group. The Montgomery County Foundation for the Performing Arts was formed to accept the gift of the old Crighton Theatre on behalf of the residents of Montgomery County.
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