A theater in downtown Scottsbluff has been an entertainment destination for decades. In turn, visitors have many memories to share about the theater from over the years.
We caught up with Midwest Theater Executive Director Billy Estes during a visit to the unique building. He says there has been a history of theaters on main street in Scottsbluff since 1909. "The Midwest originally opened as The Egyptian Theater in September of 1927," Estes said. "That theater burned in 1945, and re-opened in its current configuration on May 3rd, 1946."
"The Midwest Theater has really become the community living room for Scottsbluff and the greater area, I feel like," Estes said. "We have a mixed variety of film programming that's second-run entertainment film, and first-run art house and festival content. Then, we do about 25 live performing arts events that we book every year, plus community events. So for 2018, we had more than 240 events in here, so we are a hopping place in downtown Scottsbluff!"
The theater has been known to do holiday films where hundreds of people show up. A tradition is to show the movie "Elf" at Christmas, and patrons get to take part in a 'sock' snowball fight at the time of the famous snowball fight in the movie. "It's just great holiday fun for us," Estes said. "We also do a documentary series, and one of the new film events we are doing now is called 'Science on Screen', which deals with films on a scientific level."
One reason why the Midwest Theater remains popular, is that it continues to create memories. "There is not one event where I don't have someone walk in the door and talk about how their mom or dad had their first date here, or they went on a date, or they saw a movie here or a show here. The Midwest Theater makes memories for people in Scottsbluff," Estes said.