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Historic Landmark Preservation Commission: Sunset Theatre

Sunset Theatre south (front) view

Sunset Theatre southwest view

Sunset Theatre southwest view along Sunset Avenue

Prior to 2012 renovation.

Sunset Theatre southeast view

Adjacent building with electronic marquee serves as lobby for renovated theatre.

Cast stone friezes above the marquee

Tile roof detail

Sunset Theatre auditorium doors

Grand staircase detail

Staircase and mezzanine

Auditorium interior details

Auditorium interior details

Auditorium interior details

Auditorium interior details


1929 chair detail

Sunset Theatre under construction, 1929

Sunset Theatre with original marquee, 1935

The movie showing is College Scandal.

Sunset Theatre early marquee detail

Sunset Theatre marquee detail, ca. 1938

Note the "cooled by washed air" banner advertising air conditioning.

The auditorium in 1946

Bur-Mil employees and their families at a Christmas party.

Sunset Theatre, 1951

Sunset Theatre, ca. 1964

Showing Your Cheatin' Heart with George Hamilton as Hank Williams.

Sunset Theatre, 1976

In a brief incarnation as "The Flick."

Read the Landmark Designation Report

Read the Lanmark Designation Resolution

Read a history of the Sunset Theatre

The Sunset Theatre in downtown Asheboro is the city's one remaining theatre house.Built in 1929, the Sunset was the first structure built in Asheboro for the sole purpose of showing movies, and one of the first in the state designed for "talking pictures." The theatre is an example of a "Moorish Picture Palace" designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style popular in southern California. Both the exterior and interior of the theatre retain a high degree of originality. The storefront has been redesigned several times underneath three different marquees. After its run as a movie house ended in 1981, the building served variously as a church and performance center. In 2005, the City of Asheboro purchased and stabilized the structure, and began featuring concerts and movies. In 2011, after a planning process that focused on how renovations could meet the needs of local performing arts groups, the city carried out a capital campaign to raise $1.3 million to convert the theatre into a downtown performing arts center. The theatre opened in its new incarnation in 2012.

The Sunset Theatre's rich history rekindles vivid memories for many area residents. As the local entertainment epicenter, it was the destination for a first date, a family night out, an anniversary celebration or other special occasion. In recent years, many budding local performers have had their first acting experiences on the stage, with their families watching from the audience.