In Press Releases

The Sioux Falls State Theatre is thrilled to announce two significant contributions that will enable the downtown landmark to reopen as a movie house.

Businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford will contribute $3.5 million toward the renovation of the auditorium area, transforming the Theatre into a premium movie house experience. Features will include high-end projection and sound equipment and recliners for audiences.

Mr. Sanford is known locally for his success with First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard as well as his generous contributions to Sanford Health and other organizations that serve the public.

The City of Sioux Falls will also play a significant role in reopening the State Theatre. Mayor Paul TenHaken has pledged $1.5 million for structure and exterior work of the historic downtown building to provide a solid structure that will endure for future generations.

Contributions from the City and Mr. Sanford are critical steps forward in the journey to reopen the State Theatre, project leaders said. Returning the beautiful building to its status as an entertainment hub has required the hard work and the financial help of many people, and the work is not over, said John Swedeen, president of the State Theatre Company.

“Denny Sanford understands the huge economic and quality-of-life impact that a restored and operating State Theatre will have in Sioux Falls,” Swedeen said. “He’s laying the foundation for reopening a facility that will significantly enhance the downtown experience for generations to come.”

Contributions from Mr. Sanford and the City do not end the need for fundraising, however. The donations will be enough to complete improvements on the main floor of the building and enable the State Theatre to reopen. Fundraising will continue so that the second and third floors of the structure also can be restored, said Executive Director Allison Weiland.

“Now is the perfect time to reinvigorate potential donors to invest in the Theatre. The improvements planned will reinforce the State as truly one of the greatest historical landmarks in our community,” Weiland said.

For more information on contributing toward the full completion of the State Theatre, contact Allison at (605) 335-5757 or Information about the State Theatre also is available online at

Download the State Theatre Press kit

About the State Theatre:

The State Theatre opened in 1926 as Sioux Falls’ best, state-of-the-art vaudeville and movie house. The entertainment center was built by M.L. Finkelstein and I.H. Ruben, who owned dozens of theaters in cities across the Upper Midwest. Eventually, it became primarily a movie house that showed popular films. The Theatre closed in 1991. In 2005, ownership was passed to the State Theatre Company, which is a 501(c)(3) organization. The State Theatre Company continued efforts to save and restore the building. The historic structure at 316 S. Phillips Ave. is now poised to come back stronger than ever.

Recommended Posts
Hello there!

Leave us a message here!