September 27, 2021
(SEATTLE) – A year and a half after shutting its doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic Paramount Theatre is back in business.
On September 10, the theater hosted a free event to kick off the reopening: “Borealis, A Festival of Light,” was an immersive experience involving electronic music accompanied by a synchronized laser light show. According to Nate Dwyer, the theater’s operation’s chief, vaccination cards were checked at the door, and mask and social distancing mandates were enforced.
There were four 35-minute showings scheduled throughout the day to draw in as many people as possible, said Dwyer.
“Borealis” brought life back into the theatre as locals and visitors were finally able to fill its extravagantly adorned lobby and grand concert hall once again.
This unforeseen closure due to the pandemic was merely a hiccup in the Paramount’s turbulent 85-year history. According to an essay by Eric L. Flom, author of “Silent Film Stars on the Stages of Seattle,” since opening in 1928 the theatre has experienced multiple closures, and even been on the brink of permanently shutting down, yet manages to prevail every time.
“We were very optimistic about reopening eventually thanks to many successful years leading up to the pandemic,” said Dwyer. “We owe it to our supporters.”
Unlike at so many entertainment venues, according to Dwyer all the theater’s employees remained on the payroll in the past 18 months, “thanks to many good years leading up to the pandemic.”
Dwyer said that employees transitioned education and community programs online, bringing in funds to keep the theater afloat, and the backstage and main stage underwent maintenance and upgrades.
The majority of shows that were cancelled back in 2020, including “City and Color” and comedian Iliza Shlesinger, were rescheduled, with many coming up in the next few months, said Dwyer.