Mabel Tainter Theater celebrates 125 years! - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Mabel Tainter Theater celebrates 125 years!


Menomonie (WQOW) - The Mabel Tainter Theater in Menomonie is celebrating their 125th anniversary, and have hired a new executive director.

Stepping into the Mabel Tainter Theater is like taking a walk through a different era. “One of the things that makes the Mabel Tainter so special is that Andrew and Bertha Tainter commissioned this theater in honor of their daughter who was a lover of the arts, to be a community center for the arts,” said Andrew Mercil, chair of the 125th Anniversary Committee. The Tainter's daughter was only 19 when she died unexpectedly. They think it was appendicitis.

125 years later, it's still in operation. “Most of the materials that you're going to see throughout the theater are the original 125 year old materials, our radiators, our woodwork, our curtains are replicas but we have benches, we have tables, we have chairs. So that's why it's one of the best preserved, Victorian theaters in the nation,” said Mercil. 

Last year, the theater was deemed one of the top 15 most spectacular theaters in the world by CNN Travel. Just a few weeks ago, the theater was rated by MSN Travel as one of the top 14 historic theaters in America.

In January, Steve Renfree was hired as the new executive director. “It is a real privilege and honor to be here.  My role is to oversee the production and the facility of the Mable Tainter, all of our collaborations with various groups that come in and out of the theater and to make sure that the building is open and available to our community,” said Renfree. “This theater was built to last, and if we are good stewards of this facility, and we will be, we hope it will be here for generations to come.”

To celebrate the 125th anniversary, the theater has a whole year full of events planned. “We've got a book club, we've got tea times, we're going to be doing traveling art exhibits between each location and then at the end of September we're doing Mabel's fall fling, we're very excited about that,” said Mercil.

For more information on the upcoming anniversary celebrations, click here.

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