Rose Theater Port Townsend

The Rose Theater Port Townsend is rated the number one attraction in this quaint Olympic Peninsula city. With its amazing untouched natural beauty and the numerous Victorian houses, you will feel like you stepped right into the nineteenth century.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Port Townsend was home to a very lively theater scene. There was the Palace Theater, the Learned Opera House and The Standard. Each featured local talent as well as the highest caliber of traveling vaudeville troupes.

The Rose opened its doors around the corner of these theaters, on Water Street, in 1907. It continued with the traditional acts, but added a new invention to its lineup – moving picture shows. The Rose moved to its current location, on Taylor Street just four blocks from the Washington State ferry dock, in 1908.

The Heyday

The silver screen of the Rose Theater featured many of the top Hollywood names of the times, such as Tom Mix, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish and many others, for over fifty years before closing its doors with the flop “High School Confidential” on November 8, 1958.

Rose Theater Port Townsend exterior Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of Larry Myhre on Flickr

It wasn't until July 11, 1992 that the Rose finally reopened. Three years later the smaller Rosebud Cinema was added. Since then, the theater has become a treasured feature in Port Townsend's National Historic District.

The lovingly restored Rose Theater will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. The Rose was originally built in 1907 as a vaudeville house. Silent films and talking pictures were shown when they became available. And then came the glorious invention of Technicolor, which brought with it Judy Garland in her world famous movie The Wizard of Oz.

Digital Projection

The latest historic transition at the Rose is digital projection. With digital capabilities the Rose will be able to continue showing the latest movies, as well as the old classics.

It will continue to show operas, live plays and concerts, special events and benefits, well into the 21st century. For the first time, the Rose will be able to add 3D movies to their presentations.

The loyal local following and millions of annual visitors have kept the Rose sound and steady, even during economically challenging times. However, the Rose must now convert their films into a digital format in order to remain open for future generations to enjoy.

As the digital revolution progressed forward, the owner of the Rose hoped it could escape progress and remain in the 35mm era for many years to come. Unfortunately, this is not a feasible option. Movie distributors are revamping all of their films to the digital format.

This presents a huge challenge to small independent theater owners, who must now junk all of their old equipment and install new, computer-operated projectors. Anyone not able to make the transition will surely face closure.

The good news is that the quality of movies will be greatly improved. No more shaky films, annoying scratches or compromised sound quality. The bad news is that the cost is too much for the Rose Theater Port Townsend to handle.

A small donation from every one that doesn't want to see the Rose close, should be enough to cover the transitional costs and keep this historic theater open for many more years to come.

Celebrate at the Rose Theater Port Townsend

Every event is extra special when you celebrate at the Rose.

The Rose Theater is available for private engagements. It makes an excellent venue for corporate meetings, poetry readings, lectures, dance recitals, live plays and musical performances. It is the perfect place for a wedding, as well.

Private Screenings - You can book the theater for private screenings. This is the perfect opportunity for you to fill the seats with family and friends to enjoy an exclusive showing of the latest movie being presented at the Rose.

Business Meetings – When you have a big presentation, the Rose is a great place to hold your meeting. The wide range of audio and video choices are sure to meet your needs. This includes projection options in video or 35 mm, spotlights, a slide projector, microphones, lectern and listening devices to help your audience hear you better.

Fundraisers – What better way to raise money for your charity or cause than to show a private screening at the historic Rose Theater? The friendly staff will help you select just the right movie for your particular audience.

The Rose is available for your private event every morning and early afternoon. The main auditorium is capable of holding 158 people and the Rosebud Cinema is rated for 83 people.

Old-Time Cinema Entertainment

When you are in the mood for a true history meets technology experience, then the Rose Theater Port Townsend is just the ticket. The popcorn smothered with real butter has become a cultural icon on its own. People come from miles around just for a taste of these gems.

The sound quality is superb, the movies are great and each one is personally introduced by the theater's host, who usually has an interesting trivia tidbit about the movie you are about to see.

Arrive early to grab a cozy balcony seat. The beautiful balcony has been painstakingly restored to its original elegance. Your visit to Port Townsend is not complete unless you stop by this magnificent example of Washington history.

Rose Theater Port Townsend interior. Note the murals on the side walls. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of Truus, Bob & Jan too! on Flickr

The walls are covered with glorious murals. These are protected by full length curtains, which are drawn when you enter, but closed when the movie begins.

On your next trip to Washington, you will definitely want to put the Rose Theater Port Townsend on your list of things to see.

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