ARCHER CITY, TX (KAUZ) - A legendary theater, steeped in history, where an Academy Award Winning film was shot is right in our own backyard and its shows are selling out.Tickets are almost sold out for Saturday night's Supper Club at the Royal so if you want tickets you'd better hurry!
The Royal Theater in Archer City is the first stop in the second installment of the We Are Texoma Hometown Pride Tour. The theater was initially made famous by Archer City native and award-winning writer Larry McMurtry, whose novel The Last Picture Show was made into a movie and filmed at the Royal Theater in 1971.
The Royal Theater was built as movie theater in the 1920's but was gutted by a fire about 40 years later. To film The Last Picture Show and its sequel Texasville filmmakers had to prop out the front of the theater because it was completely dilapidated and shoot interior shots in Olney.
In 1990, Archer City leaders decided to rebuild the theater and called Archer City native Abby Abernathy - who was working in entertainment in New York. They urged him to return to home to launch the R.E.B.U.R.T.H - which stands for Rebuilding the Royal Theater. Abernathy held performances in a nearby bookstore and an auto store, which consistently sold out. Area foundations and private donors took notice and funds were raised to start restoring the Royal. It took 17 months to completely refurbish the theater.
The original Royal Theater structure was actually outside the performance space they have now. That burned down in 1965. In the 1990's, they built their modern day indoor performance space and in 2000 after 35 years of darkness they opened for business. Emily Junek, Facilities Manager for the Royal Theater, says the Royal is a special place.
"The rocks of this place, the structure just has a special presence that is palpable. The musicians that sing on the stage say that the crowd and this space is like nothing else. It's a sound, it's a feel, it's a presence - I think the town is represented in this building."
In addition to the shows, the Royal Theater gives back to the community by holding writing workshops to help the community's young adults find their creative paths.
"We have the Archer City Story Center, which is a program underneath the Royal Theater. It's putting out the Young Writer's Workshop in June and that's just going to be a mixed media workshop for area high school students."
The Royal Theater is a beautifully refurbished building with indoor and outdoor performance space - first rate shows, a new generation of local writers and a community…proud of it's little theater that will undoubtedly continue to make history for a very long time to come.