BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Fox Theater Foundation has purchased the nearby, equally historic Nile Theater from the Resurrection Church, the foundation announced Tuesday.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
The transaction involving the 19th Street theater was made possible by a gift from Bakersfield philanthropist Cynthia Lake, the foundation said in a news release.
“This acquisition … expands the arts and increases opportunities for entertainment in a smaller venue,” Lake said in a statement issued by the Fox Foundation. “It provides economic impact to the city and presents flexible space for special events. And it sets the stage for creating an arts-and-theater district in downtown Bakersfield.”
The Nile opened in 1906 as the Bakersfield Opera House and was renamed the Nile Theater in 1925. The Fox and Nile theaters have been siblings almost from the start: Charles P. Skouras, president of Fox West Coast Theaters, remodeled the Nile Theater in 1938 and later remodeled the Fox Theater in 1953.
“This is a big deal,” Matt Spindler, executive director of the Fox Theater Foundation, said in a statement. “The gift Cynthia Lake gave to not just our Foundation, but to our city, is a forever game changer to our downtown. I’m proud that our Foundation is willing to take on this historic theater and help restore it as much as possible to what it used to be. And my hope is that it’s not the last one. “
Spindler said the Resurrection Church has kept the Nile in turnkey shape.
“What these theaters offer in regards to entertainment, architecture, history, and commerce is worth the investment of the time and money it takes to restore and maintain them,” Spindler said. “The mission of our Foundation fits perfectly to take this next step. Our hope is that the community will continue to show the love and support with our efforts for the Nile as they have with the Fox.”