Colonial Theatre Restoration

Note: All of the following linked articles are unavailable, since the Laconia Citizen newspaper, after a 90 year run, went out of business on October 1, 2016, and took down their web site permanently. The Laconia Public Library is now the only source for these articles. The library has every issue of the Citizen available on microfilm.

An effort in 1984 to preserve the theatre prior to its conversion to a four screen multiplex fell short.

The effort to restore the Colonial Theatre was led by the Colonial Cultural Arts Center, Inc.

There was a related effort to restore the Gardens Theatre, which was directly across the street from the Colonial Theatre.

Click here for several photos of downtown Laconia before urban renewal. Some of the photos show the Marquees of the two theatres.

Below are links to articles that describe the restoration efforts.

Laconia Citizen Article, October 14, 2007: Laconia Eyes Reviving Downtown Theater

Laconia Citizen Article, December 11, 2007: Council Sets Up Fund for Arts Center

Laconia Citizen Article, February 14, 2008: Study to Test Arts Center Potential

Laconia Citizen Article, February 15, 2008: Performing Arts in the City?

Laconia Citizen Editorial, February 15, 2008: A Cultural Opportunity Worth Pursuing

The Laconia Daily Sun, February 15, 2008: Performing Arts Center Could Be Economic Dynamo

Laconia Citizen Article, Wednesday, July 16, 2008: Performing arts effort refocusing

The Laconia Daily Sun, August 4, 2008: Consultant’s cautious optimism for Colonial Cultural Arts Center not shared by committee

(To download Laconia Daily Sun articles, click on “Find a Past Issue”, open the year folder, then open the month folder. Notice the files are numbered by the day of the month. Locate the day wanted, then copy the file to your local computer’s hard drive, then open the file.

In April of 2010, the City of Laconia purchased an 18-month option to buy the Colonial theatre. Please see the following articles for more details.

Laconia Citizen Article, Tuesday, April 27, 2010: Colonial Breakthrough Announced

Laconia Citizen Article, Wednesday, April 28, 2010: Decision Won’t Be Rushed

Laconia Citizen Article,Wednesday, April 28, 2010: Save the Colonial – Light the Marquee

Laconia Citizen Article, Saturday, May 1, 2010: Interested Parties Come Forward

In October of 2010, the Theatre was listed by the NH Preservation Alliance as one of NH’s most important historical treasures.

Laconia Citizen Article, Wednesday, October 20, 2010: Colonial Theater Named to the ‘Save’ List

Laconia Daily Sun Article, Wednesday, October 20, 2010: Colonial Theater Given ‘Seven to Save’ Status by NH Preservation Alliance

In early 2012, the effort to purchase the Colonial theatre failed.  But the effort was revived in 2015, and the theatre was finally restored, reopening in 2021.