History, Theatres, and Libraries

10 12 2012

Historic Theatres Library interior

Image courtesy of Seattle Theatre Group

Recently, on a cold and rainy Monday, a few of us from Special Collections took a trip downtown to the Paramount Theatre for a tour of the new Seattle Theatre Group (STG) Historic Theatres Library. The library, which opened in March, is devoted to collecting, cataloging, and preserving historical material from the Paramount, Moore, and Neptune Theatres.

On the 4th floor of the Paramount Theatre Office Tower, we met Marian and Lynn Thrasher, the driving force behind the installation of the library. Both longtime volunteers with STG, the Thrashers first dove into the history of the Paramount while developing a student-tour program for the theater. Inspired by its considerable history, Lynn decided to write a book on the Paramount and in the process, rediscovered a storage space overflowing with historical materials. While Lynn uncovered the material, it was Marian who woke up one morning and said, “We’re going to make a library out of this.” With the help of many volunteers, it took the Thrashers about 4,000 hours before the library was ready to open. The collection now includes binders containing a multitude of items from playbills to newspaper articles, all kinds of memorabilia on display, and even CD/DVDs of Paramount performances.

After exploring the library and perusing its contents, the Thrashers took us on an extensive tour of the Paramount. Beginning with the stage (empty after the recent departure of Wicked), we took a winding route along the back of the theater. As we were walking through hallways filled with decades of signed posters, dressing rooms (of both the stars and supporting cast), and the Ernestine Anderson Room – the Paramount’s “green room”, Marian and Lynn provided what seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of Paramount stories, information, and legends.

The Historic Theatres Library is open to the public, free of charge, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For the whole Paramount experience, private group tours of the library and theatre can be arranged by contacting Marian Thrasher at library@stgpresents.org.

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