Tuesday, March 6, 2012


From Owen DriskillDirector of Marketing and Public Relations, Roane State Community College:

March 6, 2012
Grand opening for Princess Theatre set for March 22

The grand opening for the renovated Princess Theatre in downtown Harriman will be Thursday, March 22.

The Princess Theatre Foundation is hosting the 7 p.m. event, which will include performances by area students and artists. Admission is free, but tickets are required.

Tickets can be picked up at Rocky Top General Store in Harriman (316 Ruritan Road) or Harriman Jewelry Exchange (509 Roane St.). Doors for the grand opening will open at 6 p.m.

The Princess Theatre Foundation also will host a fundraising concert on Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m. featuring The Marshall Tucker Band. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for floor seats and $20 for balcony seats. For ticket information, call (865) 403-2988.
All proceeds benefit the Princess Theatre.

The renovation of the 552-seat Princess, located at 421 N. Roane St., culminates a decade-long effort. The City of Harriman, Roane State Community College, the Tennessee Technology Center at Harriman, Roane County Schools, business leaders and community leaders worked together to complete the renovation. The Princess Theatre Foundation, formed in 2004, has raised money for the project and will continue to support the theatre.

The project was supported by a $317,000 grant awarded to the City of Harriman by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. In addition, TVA donated $1.7 million to the Princess Theatre Foundation for the renovation following the December 2008 ash spill. Dozens of individuals have donated time and resources to the project.

Sparkman & Associates Architects Inc. designed and oversaw the renovation.

Two neighboring buildings have been connected to the theatre for restrooms, dressing rooms, green room, storage and an elevator.

The City of Harriman owns the theatre. Roane State, with the support of the Princess Theatre Foundation, operates it. Megan Anderson, a Nashville native with more than 10 years of experience in theater production, is manager of the Princess.

The renovated Princess is part of a performing arts and education center that includes Channel 15 television station, operated by Roane State and owned by the City of Harriman. The Princess and the TV station give students opportunities to receive hands-on education and training in communications.

History of the Princess
The Princess Theatre was once downtown Harriman’s crown jewel, a 900-seat showplace that provided entertainment to movie-goers from Harriman and surrounding areas.

Crescent Amusement opened the Princess in September 1926, and it was known as one of the larger movie theaters in a small town. The Princess suffered minor damage in a September 1932 fire, but was not so fortunate a few years later. In January 1939, a blaze destroyed the building, and the loss led to new theater construction in Harriman.

The Princess reopened on Nov. 16, 1939, and began showing movies once again. L.W. Bevel, from Sudekum Theatres, was the manager of the new Princess.

The Princess continued on for several years. In 1987, theatre manager Cecil Johnson began to lease the theatre when he learned that the company that owned the Princess planned to close it. The theatre stayed open until 1999 when Johnson retired.

For more information about the Princess, visit

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