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Wayne Theatre

11 E Main St
Bicknell UT 84781
(435) 425-3123

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Record #1533  
 Opened: 1947
Capacity: 306 seats
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:

Information for this tour was contributed by Grant Smith and James Anderson.

The Wayne Theatre is the only theater in Wayne County, Utah; and Bicknell is thought to be the smallest town in the United States with an operating movie theater. Bicknell has a population of 325 and the theater seats 306. The Wayne opens for 8 P.M. showings on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It also hosts the Bicknell International Film Festival every year on the weekend closest to Pioneer Day.

The theatre, built in 1947, was constructed from rough-cut 12"x8" pine logs from nearby Boulder Mountain, cement, and stucco. Its design is based on the International and Art Moderne Style of the late 1930s, giving the theatre its streamlined, industrial look. The auditorium, large by today's mega-plex standards, seats over 300 people and measures 75' by 40' with a small-but-effective lobby.

The theatre was originally named the Ellett Theatre, after its first owners, Mable and James Ellett. The Ellett was half of two theatres they owned in Wayne County, Utah. The other theatre, the Loa Theatre, was demolished in 2003 and a new hardware store was constructed where it once stood.

In about 1959, Mr. Ellett had to move out of the county and the theatre was operated by Maida and John Giles until 1964. Hilma and Stanley Brinkerhoff and their family bought the theatre in 1967 and changed the name to the Wayne Theatre, after Wayne County, Utah. They operated and repaired the theatre until 1994, when it was purchased by Nanette and James S. Anderson.

The Andersons brought the Wayne Theatre up to date technologically, adding a new state-of-the-art JBL surround sound system, new amplification, new projector and lenses as well as a new heating and air-conditioning system. This little theatre in the 'middle of nowhere' now rivals any big-city theatre in terms of the exhibition of film.

In 1999 the Andersons received a grant from the Utah State Historical Society to put on a 28-gauge metal roof, facia, and soffit. This will help ensure the structural integrity of the theatre for decades to come. Many thanks to them!

The latest upgrade to the Wayne Theatre came in 2003 in the form of reupholstering all 306 seats in the auditorium. The old seat cushions and backs were in good shape cosmetically, but the cotton padding in them had pretty much disintegrated. New fabric, foam cushions, and backs were installed, leaving the original Art Deco seat frames in place. This method has preserved the old-time feel of the auditorium while affording our patrons a much more comfortable experience.

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Last featured 2/8/2004. Last edited 7/4/2021.

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