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Regis Theatre

Photo from the Great Plains Little Theater Project collection.
114 S Main St
Stanley ND 58784
(701) 628-2739

Record #372  
Capacity: 300 seats
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:

Information for this tour was contributed by Jim Aho.

The Regis Theater was built in 1961-62 by my uncles. In 1959 the Star Theater & adjacent buildings burned down. Stanley was in need of a new theater and ground breaking was held on January 20, 1961. The Regis opened for business in March of 1962.

My mother's brother operated the theater for the first 3 years it was in business. They then sold it to the Brost family, that operated it until they sold it to the Fritels. Fritels owned the Regis from 1980 to 1984 when Larsons purchased it. In the early 1990s Larsons closed the theater due to falling numbers of people attending the theater.

In 1994, Regis Theatre Inc. "R.T.I." was formed and Larsons turned over the operations of Regis Theatre to them. The theater corporation began a fundraising effort to raise money to update the Regis Theater. In 1996, the carbon arc double projector system was replaced with a xenon bulb single projector and platter system.

Later in the 1990s, as funds became available, the seating was replaced with new seats that included bottle holders. Since the population of Stanley had decreased, it was determined that there was no longer a need for as many seats as there was before. Patron comfort was an important consideration. The number of seats were cut by over 40%. The front 4 rows were removed completely. The space between the rows were more than doubled and outside isles were added. This gave more leg room and made it much easier to get to the middle & outer seats. Regis now has 169 seats. 13 Rows with 6 seats per row on the left side and 7 seats per row on the right side.

The concessions area was also updated. The soda fountain was replaced with a cooler for beverage bottles. This not only offers a greater choice to the patron, but also makes clean up much easier.

Once the theater was ready to be reopened, the corporation knew that it would not be open long if they had to hire someone to run it. So a call was put out for anyone that would be willing to volunteer with the operations of the theater. Mr. Larson was kept on as the business manager. However, the rest of the theater's operations are now done by community volunteers.

In 2009, enough funds had been raised to get a surround sound system. In the fall of 2010 more refurbishing and repair projects were begun, in preparation for Regis Theatre's 50th Anniversary, next year. A new rubber roof was installed to replace the old asphalt and gravel roof, which had several leaks. A face lift of the marquee was also begun.

In November 2010, Mr. Larson completely retired from Regis Theatre. The business operations are currently being carried out by the chief officer of R.T.I.


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Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 1/11/2011.

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