The Strand Theatre is located on the corner of North Park Square and Cherokee Street in historic Marietta Square. The Strand was built on the Marietta Square in 1935 as a movie house. Costing $150,000 to construct, it soon became known as the most modern theater outside of Atlanta with heating, air conditioning, seating for 1,000 and an excellent sound system.
Renovated in 1964, the theater closed as a movie venue in 1976 and Marietta’s Herbert Goldstein purchased the building from original owner Martin Theatres. Between 1982 and 2002, several entities attempted to reopen The Strand.
In 2002, Friends of The Strand Inc. formed with the idea of bringing back the historic theater to its glory days. In 2004, the organization launched a $5 million capital campaign to restore the theater and cover start-up operational costs. The next year, the group added two reception areas and a rooftop terrace to the plans. Other fundraising included selling sponsorships for seats and a brick campaign as the demolition and restoration work continued.
By November 2008, renovations were complete and on Dec. 5, 2008, The Strand opened by showing the Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The Earl Smith Strand Theatre held its official grand re-opening in January 2009. Upon completion of the renovation, The Strand was renamed The Earl Smith Strand Theatre.
Revival Spawns Rebirth
The Strand’s restoration has breathed new life into Marietta’s performing arts community, not only by creating a venue for concerts, traveling productions and special events, but also by increasing arts and music programming downtown.
“There’s something going on at The Strand every day of the year,” says Cassi Costoulas, general manager of the theater for the past seven years. “We do our own programming about two-thirds of the time, plus we book entertainment with promoters and private events for companies and members of the community. Last year, we handled between 350 and 400 public and private events.”
The Strand produces three shows each year, a summer musical, a Christmas review and a show featuring high school students in early summer. Last year, it also hosted a silent film festival that was well attended. Two event spaces, in addition to the auditorium, offer regular entertainment and have become destinations for locals. The Lumiere Lounge, a silent film-themed space on the second floor, seats 35 to 40 people, hosts open-mike comedy every Wednesday night and open-mike music every Thursday night. A pianist performs on Friday and Saturday nights. The roof-top terrace showcases live music on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons April to October. “Both have been very good additions to downtown Marietta,” Costoulas says. “We’ve been able to add something that was missing here and it’s been very successful.”
117 North Park Square
Marietta, GA 30060
The Cobb County parking garage is next door to The Strand, between Cherokee and Waddell Streets. Parking is free Monday through Friday after 5pm, and free all day on Saturday and Sunday. Parking is $3 Monday through Friday before 5pm.