Aberdeen Elkin Theatre, Inc.

A brief history


The Elkin Theatre opened in downtown Aberdeen in September of 1937 as a movie theatre. It was owned by the Elkin family: two sisters and three brothers. They operated it for many years. Many local people came to the movies at the Elkin and even today stories are told about “Miss Kathleen” or “Mr. Arthur” (Elkin).

After the Elkins no longer ran the theatre it became a Malco and then a Lyric movie theater.

In 1985 the movie operations had been shut down and the building was for sale. About 65 local families decided to purchase the building and maintain it as a theatre, as they feared for the historic building’s future. They borrowed the money, each committing to an annual membership fee to pay for it. They obtained tax free status as a non-profit organization. The Elkin is run by a Board of Directors elected from the membership.

Members began showing movies on Friday and Saturday evenings with all work being done by volunteers: projectionists, ticket-sellers, ticket-takers, and concession-workers selling popcorn, drinks and candy. Today the Elkin has more than 120 member families. Funds from movie operations, building rental, donations, grants and membership dues continue to be put back into the historic theatre.

The Elkin has been making an effort for many years to be a “Center for the Arts” for Aberdeen. The stage has been expanded, improved sound systems, stage lights and spotlights have been installed and the performances have diversified from films and a local play or two a year to include dance recitals, school band concerts, art shows, fashion and talent shows, and children’s musical presentations of “The Lion King”, “The Wizard of Oz”, and “The Nutcracker” ballet, and most recently the live show “A Journey Down the Mississippi Country Music Trail”.

At the end of October, 2012 a new silver movie screen and digital RealD 3D digital movie and sound system were installed to replace our 35mm projection and analog sound system. The improvement in picture and sound quality is impressive and we can now show 3D movies.

The Elkin is still doing fundraising projects after paying for the new system to continue making improvements to the historic theatre.

We hope you will enjoy the “Elkin Experience”, whether it be a movie, a play or other entertainment, all at very affordable prices.