By Dana Delgado
BERTRAM — The Globe Theatre, a quaint community playhouse in the heart of historic Bertram built in the 1930’s, has reopened its doors following a monumental renovation that has restored it to its former glory.
“This is only the beginning,” said Zachery Hamilton as he and his business partner Lance Regier and a host of helpers readied the theater for the reopening the day after Thanksgiving.
“There are many memories here for so many people and after 50 years of decline, we are hoping Bertram’s downtown will be revitalized,” Hamilton said.
Texas country singer and songwriter Lucas Hudgins and the First Cousins took the stage Nov. 27 to officially re-christen the theatre.
“Hudgins was awesome, and the crowd loved him!” said Hamilton. “We still have a few touch-ups to do in the lobby, but we are now officially open for business.”
Next up on the Globe Theatre’s stage are The Wagoneers with their high-intensity, twang-infused Honky Tonkin’ music that combines the sounds and feel of traditional country with the raw energy of rock and roll. The Wagoneers are scheduled to appear Saturday, Dec. 12, for two shows, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. According to Hamilton, both shows are expected to sell out. Tickets are available in advance for the venue which has 250 seats.
A formal grand opening is planned for Feb. 27, 2016, with a red-carpet event, fireworks, a chorus line, and the music of Dale Watson and The Carper Family, a three-woman group performing in a traditional acoustic style with a repertoire of great country tunes.
Hamilton said the vision for the Globe is to become a multi-purpose venue focusing on a variety of music and entertainment acts as well as showcasing classic film.
The 80-year-old structure had been closed and mostly neglected for the past 20 years before Hamilton and Regier initiated efforts to purchase the structure in 1998. It wasn’t until 2009, however, that the pair finally struck a deal with former longtime owner Tommy Knight and began to fulfill their long held vision and determination to completely restore the building.
Hamilton and Regier are Austin natives who grew up in “diapers together” as Hamilton puts it, before relocating to Leander and attending the same private church school and then Liberty Hill High School. The two went on to play together in a band before pursuing other interests and settling in the Bertram area.
After tearing down the original structure to its frame, the industrious partners rebuilt the stage and balcony, added a new roof, extended the back to add period style bathrooms, installed new lighting and sound systems, replaced the seats, refurbished some of the granite stones used on the walls that had been originally intended for the construction of the state capital, and searched the country for period fixtures and doors. In their restoration journey, the pair found love notes scribbled on the balcony walls and were able to recover the original Globe Theatre sign from a goat barn in the Bertram area.
Most of the work has been done by business partners Hamilton and Regier themselves. Funding has come from a variety of fundraisers and a $9999.99 grant from Bertram’s Economic Development Office. Hamilton said they believe the Globe Theatre is a pivotal piece in the city’s efforts to revitalize the historic downtown lined with impressive buildings of Bertram’s past.
The co-owner said other businesses including restaurants, retail stores, and galleries are being courted by town leaders.
The Theatre, decorated inside with the then in-fashion art-deco motif, first opened to a full house on August 20, 1935 in the center of this small rural town during the time of the Great Depression. Originally called the New Theatre, the venue quickly became the community’s social and entertainment center.
Hamilton said he and his partner noted early on when they began the renovation process that the community, which had reportedly rallied in 1935 to conceive and support the idea for a theater, had gone to great lengths to build an impressive facility with accents not normally found in playhouses of much larger cities.
It was evident to Hamilton and Regier that the townsfolk, considering the times, improvised with materials like wood instead of metal but still managed to fashion the unique interior features of the theatre.
For more information, updates and a unique video on the theater’s major makeover, visit Globe Theatre TX on Facebook.