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Poncan Theatre (photo credit Poncan Theatre)

Poncan Theatre

Ponca City, Oklahoma, USA

First Opened: 20th September 1927 (96 years ago)

Closed: 11th October 1985

Reopened: 18th September 1994

Atmospheric Style: Semi-Atmospheric

Architects: Boller Brothers

Website: www.poncantheatre.org Link opens in new window

Address: 104 E Grand Ave, Ponca City, OK 74601 Link opens in new window

Contributing building to the Downtown Ponca City Historic District: #10001010 Link opens in new window (added 21st March 2011)

National Register of Historic Places: #84000455 Link opens in new window (added 13th November 1984)


The Poncan Theatre opened in September 1927 as a 1200-seat combination vaudeville movie theatre, for a reported cost of $280,000. The theatre housed a $22,500 Wurlitzer 2-manual, 8-rank pipe organ (opus 1632). The organ was removed in the 1940s.

On 5th February 1931, Will Rogers performed to the largest audience in the theatre’s history. Two months later, on 20th April, Ethel Barrymore appeared on stage in “The Constant Wife”.

The theatre’s fire curtain, proscenium arch, and sounding board were designed in an atmospheric style, however the auditorium sidewalls and main ceiling received an Adam-esque classical treatment.

The building has had several marquees. The original marquee was replaced in 1939 with a neon marquee. This was enlarged in 1954 and again in 1962. In 1992 the marquee was replaced with a replica matching the original 1927 marquee.

The theatre closed in late 1985. In 1988, the Poncan Theatre Company, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, was founded to revive the theatre. In 1989 the entire building was donated to the Poncan Theatre Company through a generous gift from Enloe and Wanda Baumert. The building was renovated and reopened in September 1994. During the renovation project a magnificent set of stained glass light fixtures were rediscovered, along with the original hand-painted fire curtain.

Further Reading


Historic Photos & Documents
Exterior in 2020, courtesy <i>Buck Buchanan</i> (JPG)
Exterior in 2020, courtesy Buck Buchanan (JPG)
Auditorium in 2019, courtesy <i>Poncan Theatre</i> (JPG)
Auditorium in 2019, courtesy Poncan Theatre (JPG)
Auditorium in 2007, courtesy <i>Hugh Pickens</i> (JPG)
Auditorium in 2007, courtesy Hugh Pickens (JPG)
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