The Ward Theater Foundation

The Ward Theater Foundation

The Ward Theater Foundation: Preserving the Past and Shaping the Future of Live Entertainment

The Ward Theater Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the historic Ward Theater in Honolulu, Hawaii. Established in 1949 by the Honolulu Community Arts Council, the Ward Theater Foundation works to ensure the continued existence of the theater, which has been a major cultural center in the city for over 70 years. The Foundation works to preserve the theater’s legacy through educational programs, public events, and innovative partnerships with local businesses and organizations.


What Is The Ward Theater?

The Ward Theater is a movie palace located in Honolulu’s Chinatown district. Built in 1922, the theater was originally designed by renowned architect C.W. Dickey and was named after James G. Ward, the first mayor of Honolulu. The theater was the first “movie palace” in Hawaii, a type of theater designed to provide an upscale movie-going experience with its lavish and ornate architecture.

Over the years, the theater has been the site of countless performances, film screenings, and cultural events. In 1949, the Honolulu Community Arts Council purchased the theater and established the Ward Theater Foundation to ensure its continued existence. The Foundation continues to operate today, working to preserve and promote the theater’s unique place in Hawaii’s history and culture.


Preserving the Theater’s Legacy

The Ward Theater Foundation works to preserve the theater’s legacy through a variety of educational and public programs. The Foundation offers guided tours of the theater, providing visitors with a unique and interactive experience that highlights the theater’s history and architecture. The Foundation also hosts a variety of workshops and classes that teach attendees about the theater and its role in the local community.

The Foundation also hosts a number of annual events at the theater. The most popular event is the Honolulu International Film Festival, which showcases independent films from around the world. The festival has been held at the theater for over 60 years and has become one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar. The Foundation also works with local organizations, businesses, and artists to host a variety of live performances, concerts, and other special events at the theater.


Shaping the Future of Live Entertainment

The Ward Theater Foundation is also working to ensure the theater’s future by engaging in innovative partnerships. The Foundation has partnered with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra to create the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra Academy, a program that provides students with instruction in orchestral music and the opportunity to perform at the theater. The Foundation has also partnered with local businesses to host events, such as movie screenings, art shows, and food festivals.

The Ward Theater Foundation is a testament to the power of preserving history and creating a lasting legacy. By safeguarding the theater’s past and engaging in innovative partnerships, the Foundation is ensuring the theater will remain an important part of Honolulu’s cultural landscape for years to come. With its commitment to education and public events, the Ward Theater Foundation is helping to shape the future of live entertainment in Honolulu and beyond.

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