The historic Strand Theatre is now offering area residents a new place to tie the knot.
With vaudeville beginnings dating back to 1920, the venue closed from 1968-74 – and again in 1996 following another 20-year run – after showing movies and minstrel shows for decades. Now back in action for the last several years thanks to the efforts of the Strand Theatre Preservation Society, the venue is expanding to host weddings, showers, banquets and more.
In 2014, the The Marshall County Chamber of Commerce accepted a grant from the Evan G. Roberts Trust to make the Strand more accessible to handicapped visitors. The theater now has street access to the second floor via a chair lift. The update also included renovations and painting for the back stairs, which had stood from the theater’s opening day.
According to chamber President Dave Knuth, the theater hosted its first wedding earlier this month. He said the venue offers an up-to-date sound and lighting system, a piano, organ and seating for 406 guests.
Although the Strand does not currently have a reception space available, other updates, including a banquet room for showers, meetings rehearsal dinners and more, are a new asset in addition to weddings.
“We have the perfect setting if a person is not interested in a church wedding,” Knuth said. “It’s made this venue very versatile. We’ve found there are a lot of people seeking to use the Strand Theatre in various ways. … Every time we have any type of activity in the theater it becomes more and more a part of the community.”
According to Knuth, the banquet and reception room were made possible through grants. Knuth said 80 percent of the $53,000 project was provided by a grant through the West Virginia Division of History and Culture.
The upstairs room is available for small rehearsal dinners, showers, meetings and more, catering to up to 50 people.
Strand programming director Jana Jarrett said the addition of weddings will be beneficial to the theater.
“We’ve been noticing the trend of people wanting to have weddings outside of a church setting,” Jarrett said. “The theater is a historic setting with several options. If someone wants a ‘Phantom of the Opera’ or movie theme, for example, that can be achieved. We are happy to fill that void.”