From "Move-Over" to Community Center
The Raven Theater was built in Healdsburg in 1949 as a “move-over” motion picture theater. It was named the “Aven,” which was the owner’s wife’s name spelled backwards. The “R” was later added to the front of the name. In the 1990s the theater was remodeled by a new ownership group and became a community center offering movies, concerts, and a venue for local performance groups
Local Individuals Save theater as Performing Arts Venue
In 2000 falling attendance and increased competition forced the owners to put the Raven Theater building up for sale. A small group of local individuals worked to save the theater as a performance venue and in 2001 incorporated as Healdsburg Performing Arts Theater (H-PAT). H-PAT entered into a lease/purchase agreement with the theater’s owners, exercised their option in 2005 and purchased the Raven Theater for approximately $850,000. The theater is continually undergoing upgrades to its performance space, making the facility more versatile and audience- and performer-friendly..
The Raven Performing Arts Theater
Healdsburg Performing Arts Theater now operates under the name Raven Performing Arts Theater. Since the purchase of the Healdsburg building, this organization has grown to include more than one hundred volunteers and performers. More than 130 performances are presented annually. The Raven is now the performance home of the Raven Players, Imagination Foundation Children’s Theater, and Healdsburg Jazz Festival, as well as annual school performances by Healdsburg Elementary School, Westside School, and St. John’s School.
And the growth will continue greatly over the next few years. In early 2014, the Raven acquired a second location, this time in Windsor. While Raven Theater Healdsburg holds more than 400 patrons in a traditional seating arrangement, Raven Theater Windsor holds up to 100 people in flexible seating arrangements, enabling the Raven to offer a broader range of events. The Raven Players season is expanding from 5-6 productions to 9+ productions annually and a small chamber music group will be added to the Raven’s performance family.