Chester Theatre occupied the present building from 1949 to 1986. From 1986-2013, Chester Christian Fellowship Church (including Chester Vineyard Church) occupied the theatre building. The Church closed its doors in early 2013. The former board members of the closed church heard that Pastor Todd DuBord (former Senior Pastor at Lake Almanor Community Church for 13 years) had returned to the area after spending the seven years in Texas as the Chaplain for the Chuck Norris Enterprises. He and 17 other friends and community leaders started Mt. Lassen Community Church (MLCC) on Easter Sunday 2014, which meets in the theatre on Sunday mornings. The former church board members who oversaw the old theatre building asked to meet with Todd and his board members for the sole purpose to give them (free and clear) the building. Todd and his board members not only accepted the gracious gift of the old Chester Theatre building but also returned the blessing back to the mountain communities they love, lived in for roughly 20 years, and raised their families. In previous years, Todd actually encouraged past pastors at the theatre to return the building to its former theatre use. With the lack of entertainment in the area as well as a way to help boost the economic engine and neighboring businesses, MLCC gifted the primary use of the building back to the community for a year-round theatre with the eventual expanded venue of films, dramas and concerts. With that expanded venue comes an expanded name: Mt. Lassen Theatre! Mt. Lassen Theatre is its own independent 501(C)3 non-profit organization. Once renovated, the theatre will be governed and operated by its own board and personnel. It will also have a board of advisors made up of other community leaders, business people, and experts in various fields. Together, the theatre will utilize its venue and leadership to collaborate with various community leaders and organizations to help build up our community and youth via the liberal arts. Hence, Mt. Lassen Theatre's mission to entertain, educate and engage!
In November 2014, Mt. Lassen Theatre's Steering Committee was honored to hire a new Executive Director, Gwen Meinhardt (bio below), a former principal and educator who is passionate for the arts and using them to build up youth and our community as well as offer an expanded entertainment venue through the theatre. Together with the Steering Committee, Gwen will lead the theatre forward in its renovation as funds become available. Mt. Lassen Theatre was granted its official non-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service in Nov. 2014, so that all donations made to it for its renovation (including engraved theatre seats and foundation bricks) and future operations are now tax-deductible. Gwen is spearheading the new renovated facade and marquee, which will be installed in 2017 by Womack Construction Co.
As Mt. Lassen Theatre's renovation is underway, audiences will be offered a weekly movie with fresh & hot movie popcorn, assorted candy, etc., as a way to taste the theatre nostalgia of yesteryear and also what it is to come.