Concrete Theatre marks first year

(posted 2.7.11)

The Concrete Theatre celebrates its first anniversary this month and owners Valerie Stafford and Fred West are marking the occasion with true grit. The movie, that is.

True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges in a re-make of the 1969 film starring John Wayne, is one of the many new movies planned for the theater’s month-long celebration.

“We think it’s appropriate because it’s taken true grit to get this far,” said Stafford.

Among the activities planned for the month are weekly Facebook coupons, (, a Rooster Cogburn look-alike contest, and drawings for door prizes. Lucky tickets will be drawn from the year’s collection of ticket stubs, and other specials will be posted on the theater’s Web site:

In addition to True Grit, other movies slated for the month include The Fighter and Country Strong. The theater’s regular movie times are Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 5 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 4:00 p.m., but look for special matinees and additional show times as part of the celebration, too.

“There could be some surprises, so the best way to stay updated is to check the Web site or call the 24-hour movie line at 360.941.0403,” Stafford said.

Stafford and West purchased the theater in October 2009 and reopened it in February 2010 after refurbishing the interior with fresh paint and carpeting, installing a surround-sound system, and upgrading the heating, lighting, and seating. Built in 1923, the theater is the oldest in Skagit County. Over the years it has hosted everything from boxing matches on its stage to the earliest silent films on its screen.

The new owners are maximizing the use of the historic building, offering group exercise classes (Encore Fitness), seasonal music concerts, live theatre, photography workshops, community meetings and presentations, children’s dance classes, ghost tours, and of course, movies that have delighted audiences of all ages.

“Since our opening night in 2010, we’ve run 2,340,000 feet of film through the projector,” said Stafford. “And we’ve served about 2,400 tubs of popcorn with 215 pounds of butter!

“It’s been a privilege to bring Concrete Theatre back to life,” said Stafford.

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