Lights out at the Egyptian

by Amber Lyons | Campus News & Opinion Editor

If you are a Capitol Hill resident you are probably aware that over the summer the Egyptian Theater closed its doors. For the last thirty years the Egyptian Theater had been showing independent, foreign, and cult classic films. The theater has history in Seattle as being where, in the 1980s, the Seattle International Film Festival began. A few years later, the space was rented by Landmark Theaters, a chain of U.S. film houses that specialize in the same types of films that were shown at the Egyptian Theater. After all its time there, last June, Landmark decided not to renew their lease with Seattle Central, the owner of the building.

It has been most well-known in recent years for its single screen theater, but the structure has been standing for almost a hundred years. In 1915 it was built by the Freemasons as a Temple. Near the theater doors there is still The Square and Compass, the symbol of the Masons, engraved upon the brick. Even before Landmark began its lease, the temple was a place of entertainment. Rumor has it that at one point they hosted wrestling matches.

In 1992 Seattle Central bought the Masonic Temple outright, dubbing it The Fine Arts building. Since then it has been housing classes, programs, offices and the Student Support Programs. Some of these offices even lead to the theater balcony.

All is not lost for the single screen theater, though. Seattle Central is on the lookout to rent the space out to another company. According to Jeff Keever, the Director of Auxiliary Services, Seattle Central has not set a date for the announcement of who will be leasing the theater, and commented that Seattle Central is “… moving very carefully in this process in order to secure the best possible use of the space – best for the city, the neighborhood, and the college.”

If you would like to support Landmark Theaters you can attend any of their five other locations that are in Seattle, one of which—The Harvard Exit—is on Capitol Hill not a mile away from our school.

Photograph by G Warner
Photograph by G Warner



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