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“When I was a young girl in the early ’70s I always looked forward to the Saturday matinees. Anxiously holding on to my ticket during intermission, I hoped that my number was called, and sometimes it was! When that happened, I walked — ran really — to the stage to retrieve my prize. So many prizes were given on those weekends. I’ll never forget those simpler times and miss them dearly.” — Karen Rotondi.

What are your memories of our Lompoc Theatre? Was it your first kiss, the Johns Manville Christmas parties, or seeing a movie for the first time at the indoor theatre? My earliest memory of the Theatre was going to my first Saturday matinee, to see “Jungle Book” with my BFF, Polly. It was the beginning of my love affair with this magical place where friends and strangers came together to share an experience.

For kids who grew up in Lompoc during the 1960s and ’70s, the theatre was the center of our social life, into junior high and beyond.

When I stepped into the lobby of the theatre five years ago, after so many years, I found it surprisingly emotional. So many memories flooded my mind. The buttery smell of the popcorn wafting through the building, the bright lights of the candy concession, and the chatter of the groups of kids hanging out in the lobby before the show. I knew then and there I wanted to help bring the Theatre back to life.

It is important for a community to have a cultural and entertainment center to enjoy and to create memories in. Our Civic groups deserve it, our young thespians and musicians deserve it, but most of all Lompoc deserves it.

Though progress is slow and sometimes not apparent, a group of dedicated volunteers continue to work on this labor of love. Here are a few reasons why our volunteers have a special place in their hearts for our theatre:

“Having renovated an old theatre in Palm Beach, Florida, many years ago, I saw first-hand the immense impact on the community, and the revitalization of a depressed area. I wanted to help Lompoc Theatre come back to life, and see Old Lompoc blossom once again!” — Anne Ramsey, LTP board member.

“When I was a kid, the theatre was open only sporadically. I fell in love with the story of the theatre — the dramatic sconces, the retro popcorn machine, the historic building. I know it influenced my storytelling as an author.” — M.J. Sewall, LTP board member.

“I had my first dance recital at the theatre in 1977. I remember watching the older ballerinas making up and doing their hair in the dressing space under the stage. The lights made them look so beautiful. My mother tells the story of how when I came on stage my father kept saying really loudly, ‘That’s my daughter, that’s my beautiful daughter!’ As if not every other person there didn’t have a daughter on stage as well. However, that’s the beauty of theatre and live performances, they not only transform the actor or dancer, but it transforms the audience as well.” — Heather Bedford, LTP board member.

The Lompoc Theatre’s next fund-raiser is the Lompoc Chalks Festival, Oct 12-14. Art, food, vendors, beer and wine will be available, along with mural tours and tours of the historic 91-year-old theatre.

For more information, visit lompoctheatre.org or contact LTP at 740 North H Street, No. 238, Lompoc, Ca 93436 • (805) 380-6777.

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Barbara Satterfield is a Lompoc resident.

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