Photographs courtesy of Gene Knaebel
The Cascade Theatre opened in downtown Redding in 1935 as a 1,348-seat movie palace and vaudeville stage. One of the few theatres built during the heart of the depression, the Cascade Theatre was a magnificent example of art deco architecture, complete with gold and silver gilded walls, period chandeliers, ornate plasterwork, a grand neon facade and marquee and beautiful murals. Following years of decline as a downtown movie house, much of the Cascade's art deco glory had either been removed or painted over. The curtain and staging equipment were long gone. Little of what had once been a magnificent neon marquee remained. The theatre's elaborate ceiling chandeliers had been removed in a 1977 partitioning and in 1997 the Cascade ceased operating and its doors were boarded. In 1999, Southern Oregon University purchased the building and leased it to the Jefferson Public Radio Foundation. Restoration of the Cascade Theatre was completed on August 14, 2004 and the theatre reopened as a regional non-profit performing arts center. In 1935, the Cascade Theatre was a vital element of Redding's cultural and economic life. Today the Cascade once again flourishes as a place that breathes new life into Redding's downtown and brings people of all ages together to be entertained and inspired.