By Matt Wastradowski
Nearly a decade ago, a simple Facebook page signaled the launch of a new era for performing arts in Oregon’s state capital.
It was on June 7, 2012, that the Salem Theatre Network announced itself to the world with a simple Facebook post that asked fans to invite their friends, colleagues, groups, and organizations to join the case. “The more people who network, the better this will work!” the post reads.
It’s safe to say that the Salem area arts scene heard the call; nearly eight years later, 12 theater organizations comprise the Salem Theatre Network, which has become a force for growing the local performing arts scene and showcasing talent from around the Willamette Valley. And that Facebook page, now boasting more than 1,700 “likes”, is a hub of activity—from promoting upcoming shows to boosting local talent to putting out the call for volunteers.
Here’s a look at some of the 12 groups and venues that have helped the Salem Theatre Network grow the local arts scene through classic performances and innovative offerings.
The Elsinore Theatre
The Elsinore Theatre, named for the castle in Shakespeare's Hamlet, opened in the spring of 1926. At the time, it showed silent films and vaudeville shows—and was praised as one of the region's most regal theaters.
The silent films and vaudeville shows might be a relic of the past—but nearly a century later, the downtown Salem theater remains a vital presence in the local arts scene. Known for great acoustics, the Elsinore hosts all manner of live performances—music from local and national acts, theater, classic cinema, symphonic performances, choral concerts, and more.