February 17th, 2024

Who we are

Who are we: Fairmont Opera House Local theater

  Sometimes, we find ourselves staring at something familiar, something we’ve known our whole lives, yet we’re clueless about its true meaning because no one ever took the time to explain it. We’ve all been there! We make assumptions and never bother to question. It’s those things that never seemed crucial to learn, so they end up gathering dust in the corners of our minds.

Take, for instance, the giant brick building that sits at the south-end of Main Street.  Driving by that building, you might find yourself transported back to childhood, squirming in your seat during Johnny Cash revival performances at the Fairmont Opera House, dragged along by your parents who were eager to relive their own musical memories. Or perhaps that building was where you had your first taste of live theater, sitting wide-eyed as the curtains rose on a vibrant production of Beauty and the Beast. Or maybe, you learned the meaning of Joropo, as you danced along to Venezuelan beats amongst community members of all ages and backgrounds.

Memories like these are the lifeblood of the Fairmont Opera House. They are what make our staff, board, and volunteers dedicate endless hours to performances, events, and the day-to-day management. Over the coming months, we want to share some of those memories with you all. But first, let us introduce ourselves to you.

Quick link guide:

We are a non-profit theater organization

What does that even mean?

We’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, just like your local church, which means we’re tax-exempt. When you contribute to our cause, you’ll receive a year-end tax letter detailing your donations, allowing you to claim tax deductions. Our organization is run by dedicated staff members and overseen by a board of directors. Despite being a small non-profit, we make a significant economic impact on our community. Our funding comes mainly from individual donors, business sponsors, and grants. Ticket sales only account for a small percentage of our revenue each year because we strive to keep ticket prices affordable for everyone in our community.

For other references to FAQ about nonprofits: Myths about nonprofits

About the theater

Our theater is the oldest operating theater in the state of Minnesota, which was established in 1901. Our theater has just over 500 seats and some of the most incredible acoustics in the area. We are the home of Fairmont Area Community Theater after they joined forces with us in 1983.

It’s called “Opera House” for a reason…right?

Opera has very rarely been performed in the Fairmont Opera House! In the early 1900s, the use of the word “opera” in the name was more politically correct than a “theater” or “variety hall,” which were deemed morally corrupt. During this period, opera was a product of high civilization and a respectable form of entertainment. The name suggested that this theatrical house stood on moral high ground (even though the entertainment inside these walls was the same as in any variety hall or theater of the age). In keeping the original name, we preserve a bit of our history and a wry smile.

More information about our theater’s history

While there have been some performances of Opera before, they haven’t happened for a VERY long time. We keep some classical-style shows in our programming when possible, but we now have many more contemporary performances!

 

Breaking down our mission

Since we are a non-profit organization, we have a mission statement that reads as follows:

“By providing high-quality arts and entertainment, Fairmont Opera House Inc. strives to advance cultural experience and community involvement within the historic Fairmont Opera House Facility and throughout the region.”

What we do

This reflects our commitment to enriching our community with unique artistic experiences and serving as stewards of our aging building. Each performer we host undergoes a selection process by our Executive Director and Board of Directors to ensure their impact resonates deeply within our community. Several artists opt for special outreach performances, taking their art directly to local schools, nursing homes, and businesses, making culture more accessible. 

Our diverse programming includes Community Theater for Youth and Adults, highlighted by our partnership with Civic Summer Theater, now known as Fairmont Area Community Theater since 1983, presenting annual musicals and camps for all ages. From dance to music and theater for young audiences to thought-provoking adult productions, our stage hosts a wide array of performances encompassing classical, comedy, drama, and beyond. 

Additionally, we regularly host free community events, creating a welcoming space for people of all ages to come together, especially during holidays when families may be apart. Our venue is also available for rent, serving as a hub for school concerts, recitals, weddings, and corporate events, all contributing to the vibrancy of our historic space. 

With a legacy spanning 123 years, our facility stands as the oldest operating theater in Minnesota, preserving not just a stage but a century of community history—a responsibility we hold dear as careful stewards.

Why we do it

We don’t just do it to do it; we’re here for everyone—past, present, and future. It’s for those we love who’ve moved on and those who have yet to step inside. We’re all about honoring where we came from and imagining where we’re headed. Whether you’re a local or you’ve trekked for hours to visit, we’re all about making art accessible to everyone. And hey, let’s not forget the joy art brings to escape the daily grind, right? We’re here to spark imaginations, especially in our little ones. This place isn’t just a building; it’s a testament to the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into it over the last century. It’s where history meets now, community thrives, and we celebrate every person who’s made this place what it is today. So, yeah, we’re here for them—for all the folks who’ve left their mark and for those yet to discover the magic within these walls.

In short, we do it for you. 

 

If you have additional questions that we did not answer, never hesitate to reach out to us at info@fairmontoperahouse.org

 

Other questions you might have: What is the history of what the building has been in the past? Who are the people in charge? How can I help?

 

To learn more about our work here at Fairmont Opera House or share your own story with us, click the links below!

Tell your story

Tell your story

February 17th, 2024 Fairmont Opera House needs your storyABOVE: A view of the stage from the...

How you can help!

The Fairmont Opera House needs your support to repair its roof truss system and preserve our historic facility.  We ask that you give generously to ensure that our institution remains able to provide cultural experiences for generations to come.

ART

CULTURE

MUSIC

THEATER

LIVE

Box Office Hours:
Tuesday-Friday
9:00am-2:30pm and 1 hour prior to Event

*Doors Open 1 Hour Before Event, House Opens 30 mins Before Event

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