Community Theatre

In 1940 William Dalke and his family completed a new movie theatre on this site in Woodstock. At the time it was one of two theatres operated by the Dalkes in Woodstock and one of several in their chain of movie houses in Shenandoah County.

When it was built this structure was one of the newest and most modern theatres in the area. The building was constructed in the popular Art Deco Style and housed two businesses on the first floor along with the theatre. It could accommodate 350 persons in the main theatre and 150 more in its balcony. Movies were held regularly every night, several times on Saturday, and at a Sunday matinee. Travelling troops and community organizations also regularly conducted performances on the theatre’s stage, including westerns complete with horses. In an era before television and computers, it was one of the community’s most popular entertainment venues.

During the Second World War the Community Theatre became an important part of the local war effort. Its primary function was to provide information to the community. Newsreels that provided updates on the war and the Homefront were shown regularly before movies and at special showings.

In addition to providing news service, the Dalke family also turned the theatre into collection centers. Locals were invited to bring scrap items, fats, clothes, books, or other items in place or regular admission on special days. Informational films that promoted increased agricultural yields, war spirit, and bon sales were also shown.

After the war the Dalke’s continued to operate, and expand this theatre and their chain. Two additional screens were added to the Community Theatre in the 1970s and 1980s. However, competition from television and larger theaters in other communities led to the closure of many of the Dalke’s movie houses. However, Community remained opened and was sold in 2008 to the Garman family who continue to operate the theatre.