History & Mission Statement

Built in 1916, William Shelton named it the Martha Ellen Auditorium for his daughter Martha Ellen. It was the scene of musical concerts, operas, vaudeville performances and classics like “The Shepard of the Hills”.

The time it was built was before radio or television, when silent movies were only beginning to become available in rural Nebraska. Around 1945, the Martha Ellen Auditorium also known as the “Academy of Music in Central City”, was purchased by Don Campbell and renamed the State Theater.

It was then that by closing the balcony the State Theater became a two screen theater. The downstairs was remodeled; however, the original seats of the Martha Ellen Auditorium still exist in the balcony. In 1988, the State Theater was listed in the National Register of Historic Places under the name of the Martha Ellen Auditorium.

In 2012, the owners decided to close the theater because of the need for a new digital projector, which was too high for an expense for them to budget. In May 2015, a group of people came together to Save the State. The State Theater Foundation was created with a board of directors and a business plan to reopen the State Theater.

Our mission is to enrich, entertain, and educate our community by providing exception cinematic arts in a unique, intimate setting, while preserving the last historic movie theater in Central City.

Donations can be mailed to: PO Box 15, Central City, NE 68826.

Contact Us

our email – ccstatetheater@yahoo.com