‘We are deeply saddened’

Rising costs and inability to obtain liquor license contribute to closing of Hopewell Theatre venue

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Hopewell Theater, a venue with deep building history and roots in Hopewell Valley, is closing its doors.

On Jan. 23, Sara Scully, co-founder and executive director of Hopewell Theater, announced in a message to patrons that the theater was closing, which has had a history spanning 144 years.

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“Rising costs and the inability to obtain a liquor license – a key income source for live venues – have contributed to our decision,” she said.

The theater which is currently located at 5 S. Greenwood Ave. in Hopewell Borough was purchased in 2015 from Julie and Bob Thick by owners Jon Mcconaughy, Liza Moorehouse and Mitchel Skolnick. Hopewell Theater has been run by Scully and Skolnick.

“In 2017, we opened Hopewell Theater after considerable renovation and since that season we have welcomed thousands of patrons at our selectively eclectic lineup of shows from films to live music, supper clubs, theatrical performances, and more,” Scully said.

She noted that even though Hopewell Theater is currently closing, she said “the building’s owners want to assure the community that efforts to try to re-open will be ongoing.”

She thanked people for supporting the theater’s opening, and their patience through the COVID-19 pandemic as the theater had to shut down temporarily just as many businesses had to face the challenges, difficulties, and implement safety measures caused by the pandemic.

“You supported our opening, waited patiently through the pandemic, and returned in even greater numbers post-pandemic,” Scully said. “Through it all, your five-star reviews of our staff and service endured.”

According to the Hopewell Theater website, the history of the theater began from 1880 to 1939 as Columbia Hall, a community center with a lyceum style theater, hosting lectures, performers and films on its second floor.

The Borough Council, community groups and the fire department held their meetings on the first floor.

In the next decade, the Hall was demolished to what would become The Colonial Playhouse. Then from the 1960s to the early 1980s the building was owned by George Gallup and turned into a place to conduct local polling.

Gallup went on to sell the building to the Thicks, who in 2015 sold the building that had been turned into the Off-Broad Street Theater to Mcconaughy, Moorehouse and Skolnick.

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