PROSSER -- The Valley Theater Company fulfilled a long-awaited dream this week by purchasing the historic Princess Theatre in downtown Prosser.
"This is the first time in our 52-year history that this nonprofit community theater troupe has its own home," said Candace Andrews, the campaign coordinator for the company. "This is the most exciting development in the 30-plus years that I have been involved with VTC. The Princess is truly Prosser's crown jewel and I am thrilled that it is now the permanent home for VTC and performing arts in our community."
During the company's three-and-a-half-year capital campaign, it received more than 200 donations, topped with a matching donation from the Prosser-based Edgar E. Whitehead Foundation.
The foundation donated $180,000 toward the $360,000 purchase price, and other private donations made it possible to buy the theater without purchasing a mortgage.
"VTC now owns the building outright," she added. "This includes the theater and adjoining reception area that we call the Green Room.
"Collectively, our donors have made a promise to Prosser and the surrounding area that performing arts will always have a home here. This is an amazing gift for current and future generations."
The Valley Theater Company bought the building from Mercer Canyons Inc.
"We greatly appreciate the support of all our donors and the Whitehead Foundation," Andrews said. "We also thank Mercer Canyons Inc. for its generosity and patience in allowing us the time to raise the funds."
The Princess Theatre was built in about 1920 and held all sorts of entertainment from boxing matches to vaudeville acts. In 1946 it switched to a movie theater and continued showing films until the early 1980s when it closed down.
The Mercer family bought the building in 2005 and began renovating as a performing arts center. It reopened on Valentine's Day in 2007 with the Valley Theater Company's production of Love Letters.