The Show Must Go On: A Season of Performances at the Fox West Theatre
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
The Fox West Theatre Alliance and the City of Trinidad have announced the fall 2020 season of performances at the Fox West Theatre. Organizers are capturing performances from local, regional, and national performers as well as historic video tours for publication on the theatre’s YouTube channel, to be released to the public starting in October 2020. The Fox West encourages performing artists of any genre to apply for inclusion in this special season.
For the first time in almost a century, the historic Fox West Theatre is welcoming local, regional, and national performers to its stage.
Originally planned to support live audiences in the Fox West’s auditorium, a fall season of performances are now being captured in high quality audio and video, and will be shared with the general public beginning in October, via the theatre’s YouTube channel.
“The goal of this season is to raise awareness about the Fox West Theatre, and its status as a world-class performance venue,” said Christopher Smith, Project Manager for the Fox West Theater through Urban Neighborhoods, Inc. of Denver, Colorado. Built in 1908 as a performing arts venue, the Fox West served Trinidad as a movie theater since the 1930s. Purchased in 2018 by the City of Trinidad, the fall 2020 season is being produced by the Fox West Theatre Alliance, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to its historic preservation.
These performances mark the first formal season at the Fox West in nearly one hundred years. Performers are encouraged to apply for inclusion in this special season as Smith continues to round out the fall performance schedule. Some travel stipends are available. Sessions have thus far included local, regional, and nationally-recognized musicians and performers. This season’s performances are being captured by Holloway Video of Trinidad.
“Artists of any genre are welcome to make use of the main stage of the Fox West,” Smith explained. “The theatre was designed to support the arts in an interdisciplinary way: from the ballet-size stage to the incredible acoustics and ambiance.”
In addition to these performances, videos chronicling the history of the building and walkthroughs of seldom-seen indoor spaces are being produced. Even for natives of the region, there is much to learn about the Fox West and its history. Not only has the Fox West recently been recognized as a world-class acoustic environment, but its stage and rigging system may be one of the best-preserved in existence.
In the early twentieth century, Trinidad was growing too big for its entertainment venue: the Jaffa Opera House, built in 1899, was overflowing with patrons on most nights. Local cattleman Ed West decided to dedicate the land he owned at the other end of Main St. to the entertainment needs of the people of Trinidad, commissioning the Rapp and Rapp architectural firm of Trinidad to plan a grand venue, complete with two balconies, a Broadway-sized stage, lobbies, and a full ballroom in the basement.
As part of the Orpheum circuit, the Fox West stage was host to many important Vaudeville acts, including John Philip Sousa, comedians, traveling musical companies, and much more. Purchased by a movie theater chain in 1929, and again by the Sawaya family of Trinidad in 1959, the theater has also hosted important moments in cinema: the first talking pictures, the first wide screen projection system, and the first stereo sound. In 2018, with support from History Colorado, the Fox West was purchased by the City of Trinidad.
Video tours will explore the stage, as well as the substage, where two flights of dressing rooms accommodated Vaudeville casts of up to three dozen performers. Virtual tourists will also get to see the green rooms, where stars prepared to perform, and delve into the mysteries beneath the auditorium—including a secret room that’s been sealed off since 1933!
Videos will be released and publicized via the theatre’s Facebook page. “We hope that as videos are released, the public will enjoy them and share them,” Smith said.
The Fox West Theatre Alliance is currently welcoming sponsorship at all levels from businesses, organizations, and individuals from Trinidad—and from around the world—through September 30, 2020. Open-ended donations are also being accepted on the theatre's website.
For more information, please contact Christopher Smith, Urban Neighborhoods, Inc. project manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fall 2020 season of performances at the Fox West Theatre is made possible through support from the Bar NI Foundation, City of Trinidad Tourism Board, and Urban Neighborhoods, Inc.
Photos courtesy of the Fox West Theatre.