Moscow, Latah County
- Grants: 2000, 2008, two in 2013, 2022 (backstage updates)
Location: 508 S Main Street, Moscow, Idaho 83843
The Kenworthy Theatre and Performing Arts Center began its life as the Crystal Theater in 1908. The Crystal Theater eventually became a car dealership where the building served as the garage. In 1925 Milburn Kenworthy purchased, lengthened, and extensively remodeled the building. In 1928, the theater was expanded southward by twenty feet. For a period of time, it was used for silent films with the placement of a screen in front of the stage and a projection booth at the back of the balcony. The neon blade Kenworthy sign was installed in 1930, and by 1949 Kenworthy added a new terra cotta tile façade and enlarged marquee. In 1979, the stage was converted for use as a coffee house.
Kenworthy was a huge proponent of film and theater in Moscow, Idaho. Before being a theater owner, Milburn Kenworthy worked in live theater productions throughout Canada and the United States. He even headed his own production company, the Kenworthy Players. His wife, Marjorie Duffy, was the sister of one of his leading ladies. Kenworthy left his career in theater production in 1918, convinced that movie entertainment would take its place. On March 1, 1918 Kenworthy leased the Strand Theater and purchased the theater’s equipment. After opening the Kenworthy Theater in 1926, he built the Nuart theater in 1935 just a couple of doors down. Majorie and Milburn provided patrons with an immersive atmosphere, occasionally bringing a real horse to walk down the aisle before a western movie or when they burned incense during the showing of Salome to add an exotic touch to the experience.
The buildings that housed the Strand Theater, Kenworthy Theater, and Nuart Theater still stand today. The Strand currently houses a tattoo parlor and the Nuart is now owned by Community Christian Ministries. The Kenworthy family gifted the eponymous theater to the community in 2000, and it now serves as a multipurpose venue for plays, musicals, film, live music, and an all-around event space.
For more information please contact Kenworthy Performing Arts Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.