This fall, the Avalon Theatre in downtown historic Easton has been undergoing cosmetic renovations, returning it to its 1930’s appearance at the height of the theatre’s Vaudeville days.
Fresh decorative painting will see many of the recognizable elements brightened up and adorning a few new areas within the theatre, as well. The artisans involved will not only refurnish the existing art deco finishes but also apply protective coatings to preserve them for years to come. The overall scope of improvements includes: theatre stage, seating, balconies, lobby, hallways, downstairs bathrooms and second floor facilities.
Dwelling & Design has been involved in the Avalon Foundation’s 2018 Critical Renovations Project since the start. The downtown Easton business, co-owned by interior designers Don Wooters and Fiona Weeks, were hired to provide interior design recommendations and to oversee new work on the interior spaces of the historic Avalon Theatre.
“The Avalon Theatre Critical Renovations project includes multiple architectural, engineering and design teams. Don Wooters, of Dwelling & Design, was brought in by the foundation to ensure that the finished product was consistent across project elements and resulted in a significant design improvement that both respects and enhances the building’s historically important art deco aesthetic,” says Al Bond, President and CEO of The Avalon Foundation.
“Many of the art deco elements in the theatre remain from that era, while others have been lost over the years,” states Don Wooters. “We’ve carefully researched old photographs of the interior from the Talbot County Library’s Maryland Room historical archives. There is strong emphasis being placed on keeping everything as authentic and cohesive as possible, all of which has gone before the Maryland Historical Commission and received final approval,” he adds.
“We are excited to participate in this update and know that it will create a positive experience for the audience…and all who enjoy use of this valued community asset,” adds Don.
The Avalon Theatre was completed in 1922 and quickly became “The Showplace of the Eastern Shore.” In 1934, new owners refitted the building and redesigned the theatre in the Art Deco style. Its days as a premiere movie house ended in 1985 and remained dark until 1987, when renovations began in earnest to bring the theatre back to her glory days. In 1989, with its $1.36 million renovations complete, and a third floor added, the theatre retained its proscenium stage, domed ceiling and superior acoustics. However, the theatre didn’t immediately thrive. The theatre was purchased by The Town of Easton in 1992 and, by 1994, the town entered a lease agreement with the newly created Avalon Foundation. Finally, the theatre’s growth took off and has once again become “The Showplace of the Eastern Shore.”
Work on the nearly 100-year-old building has been underway since August, following the Avalon Foundation’s 14th annual Plein Air Easton. The project is expected to be completed in the near future. For more project information, visit www.dwellinganddesign.com and www.avalonfoundation.org.