The Keystone Theatre, which opened to the public as Hales Opera House on Sept. 21, 1887, turns 125 this September and several events are planned to celebrate the milestone anniversary.

During the month of September, an exhibit of memorabilia and historical equipment and artifacts from throughout the theatre's history will be displayed at the Washington Street Station and in the Keystone Theatre. The exhibit at the Washington Street Station, also built by Elias W. Hale in 1884, will focus on Elias Hale and the history of the people and performances at Hales Opera House/Keystone Theatre. The exhibits in the theatre will include memorabilia and historical equipment from the Keystone Theatre and the history of film.

An opening reception, sponsored by First Citizens Community Bank, is set for 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6 and includes tours of the theatre, light refreshments, a showing of the film "Towanda Queen" at 6 p.m., and the release of Keystone Theatre 125th Anniversary commemorative wine labels produced in partnership with Grovedale Winery of Wyalusing. Two Grovedale Winery wines will feature commemorative labels: a Cabernet Sauvignon with an historical image of Hales Opera House; and a Niagara with an illustration of the Keystone Theatre by local artist, Ed Strosser. Bottles of the two wines will be available for purchase. The Reception is free and open to the public.

On Friday, Sept. 21, exactly 125 years after the Theatre first opened its doors, Winding River Players will present a re-enactment of the opening play, "Elizabeth: Queen of England." The September 1887 production of the play, written by Paolo Giacometti, featured the renowned actress Mrs. D.P. Bowers as Queen Elizabeth. Tickets for the performance are $12 for adults; $9 students/seniors and are now on sale at The evening will also include wines poured by Grovedale Winery (bottles with the commemorative labels will be available to purchase) and anniversary cake.

After almost 100 years of showing movies on film, September 2012 also marks the end of film projection at the Keystone Theatre as the Bradford County Regional Arts Council (BCRAC) upgrades its three theatres to digital film projection. A series of movie night specials will mark the end of the film era at the Keystone during the final week of film - dates and specials to be announced once digital installation dates are confirmed.

A Keystone Theatre 125th Anniversary Committee of volunteers and BCRAC staff has been working for the past 6 months on plans for the Theatre's anniversary. The committee includes: Elaine Poost, Joyce Detharidge, Ruth Tonachel, Amber Chilson, Brooks Eldredge-Martin, Jen Swain, Mike Burgett, Jeff Carr, Irma Henson, Kelly Andrus, Jane Clements, Mary Williams, Lora Wiggins and Julie Larnard-Newbury. Kelly Wilhelm is the current Keystone Theatre Manager.

The Keystone Theatre is the oldest operating theatre in northeastern Pennsylvania. It is one of three historical theatres owned and operated by BCRAC. Established in 1976, BCRAC is a regional non-profitorganization committed to the promotion and support of the arts and culture.

For more information, visit BCRAC online at or

Submitted by the BCRAC