Sharon Deuber has a request of the community as the process to purchase and restore historic Hemet Theater continues: “Rally with us.”
Deuber and the other members of Valley View Foundation — the nonprofit looking to purchase the sleepy, rundown theater and to organize restoration efforts — are ramping up for their “Save Our Theater” campaign’s largest fundraiser to date.
On March 31, a black tie affair titled “The Show Must Go On: A Magical Evening of Film, Music and Dance” will unveil restoration plans, demonstrate the venue’s potential as a multi-use facility and illustrate the ways local residents can get involved in the community-driven project.
‘The Show Must Go On: A Magical Evening of Film, Music and Dance’
What: Fundraiser for the purchase and restoration of historic Hemet Theater
When: March 31
Where: Hemet Theater, 216 E. Florida Ave., Hemet
Tickets: $75; seating is limited; RSVP required
More info: 951-926-0823, valleyviewfoundation.org
Donate: Visit the website for all the ways to donate to the project, or donate directly at the Bank of Hemet via the Valley View Foundation account.
April 12: Event in conjunction with Hemet’s State of the City address to be held at the theater. Details to be announced.
April 14: Theater will be a part of the Maze Stone Music Festival. Visit the website for details.
“This is our major fundraising push to make a presentation of what our goals are and what are visions are for the Valley,” Deuber said.
A series of short films from each decade of the theater’s existence will help attendees recall what the venue offered patrons throughout the years. An 11-piece orchestra will accompany the showing of a silent film to kick off the presentation.
Cocktails, hors d’oeuvre and desserts also will be a part of the event that is being orchestrated by newly appointed theater artistic director Alexander Yepremian.
Deuber said the entire event will have the feel of old Hollywood circa-1921 — the year the theater was built — complete with a red carpet. Attendees are encouraged to wear vintage gowns.
Deuber said over 150 have committed to attending. And even though exclusive invitations have been sent out, the event is open to the public. Tickets are $75 a person.
About the project
Valley View Foundation was formed in August last year by Jason Strain, owner of Hemet’s Allegro Music, along with his business partner Nick Reed and Deuber, a Hemet broker and vice chairwoman of the city’s planning commission.
The nonprofit was formed to tackle arts-related projects in the Hemet area that had met dead ends. Their first project is acquiring the 440-seat theater in order to revive the downtown area and provide a performing arts center for the public and its local musicians.
The theater will be run off public donations and sponsorships.
A theater committee was created to help oversee restoration process. Members include Dr. William and Elena Kern, Lakshman Koka of San Jacinto, Marshall Hawkins of Idyllwild Arts Academy, Robert Righetti and Lois Stipp of Diamond Valley Arts Council, Linda Greilich and Muriel Dufresne of Golden Era Studios, Patricia Yepremian of Hemet Farmer’s Market, Susan Carrier of Valley Happenings, as well as the members of Valley View Foundation. Lori Van Arsdale, of the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater Board of Directors, was named the adviser to the committee.
Currently, the nonprofit is in escrow to purchase the building. A cash purchase will end the process in May. The purchase price is not being disclosed because of the escrow process, said Deuber, adding that it is lower than the original asking price.
Any financial help from the black tie affair and upcoming fundraising events will help to complete the purchase, she said.
“The community needs to support it to sustain it,” she said.
If residents can’t make financial donations, Deuber said they will be needing volunteers.
The nonprofit hopes to utilize upstairs office spaces as classrooms. Local arts teachers will be needed to help teach music, art and dance classes.
Said Deuber: “We want the community to get involved in any and every capacity they want to.”
*Correction: Tickets are $75 per person as mentioned in the story. The price previously was listed incorrectly in the Info Box, but has now been corrected.
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