Crews raze 97-year-old First Stage

July 13, 2010

By Staff

The curtain has fallen for a downtown Issaquah landmark.

Crews brought down the outdated, frontier-era First Stage Theatre last week, as Village Theatre readies to build a modern facility on the same site.

Foushée & Associates, a Bellevue contractor, started to disassemble the building in late June, and completed the task July 8. Before the teardown, workers salvaged material from the old theater to be used in the planned building.

A claw digs into the last part of the theater building.

Plans for the soon-to-be-constructed theater call for better seating, more space onstage and backstage, and a similar façade to the former structure.

Theater executives launched a capital campaign to fund the First Stage reconstruction, after they realized the extent of decay to the 1913 theater and shelved renovation plans.

Crews detoured pedestrians through wooden scaffolding built adjacent to the street for the duration of the project. The sidewalk closure runs through March 2011.

The first Village Theatre show — “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” — opened there in 1979. Until the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre — referred to as the Mainstage — opened, First Stage Theatre housed the Issaquah theater. KIDSTAGE and the Village Originals programs occupied the space after Village Theatre built the Mainstage in the early 1990s.

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