Texana Arts Council works to restore historic Edna Theatre – Victoria Advocate


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Updated: November 15, 2022 @ 1:21 pm
The Edna Theatre is pictured on Monday afternoon in downtown Edna.
Education Reporter
The Edna Theatre is pictured on Monday afternoon in downtown Edna.
EDNA — The Edna Theatre, sitting at Main and Ed Linn streets in Edna, is certainly one of the town’s most iconic buildings, but it hasn’t regularly entertained Edna’s residents since 1979.
The Texana Arts Council, a local nonprofit, wants to change that.
The theater was the flagship of the Long Theatre Company, complete with over a mile of neon tubing, and was able to seat about 1,000 people, a significant number for a town of around 3,000 residents.
When it was constructed, it shifted the town’s focus to the west side, not in the least because it was one of the only buildings in Edna with air conditioning.
“It’s the focal point of downtown, in my opinion,” Shelley Srp, president of the Texana Arts Council’s board of directors, said.
Despite that iconic status, the theater has sat almost entirely vacant since 1979, passing between a few different owners.
After an unsuccessful attempt to acquire the theater roughly a decade ago, the council got another chance when the property went on the market recently, and bought the theater on Aug. 19, fulfilling the 30-year-old organization’s longtime goal.
Now, the council’s board of directors aims to make the theater a center of the arts in Edna and the surrounding area.
Their first step is to figure out exactly what the Edna community wants out of the building, to ensure the council’s efforts mirror the community’s actual needs and desires.
“The perfect vision, for me, is for the community to be happy and use it daily,” Srp said. “So that’s why it’s important, I think, to do this research and find out this data so that we can make sure that we are following what would be productive for our community”
As that process progresses, the council’s leadership does have some ideas in mind, and is talking about ideas of community education, art programs, concerts, plays and diverse programming.
Before any of those arts events happen, though, the theater needs some work. After sitting vacant for decades, the building has certainly seen better days, but the council’s architect and structural engineer has said it’s in solid structural condition, according to the council’s leadership.
“They gave us a very good report, saying how surprised they were given that it’s sat vacant for so long. It’s structurally sound, and it’s in better shape than they would have guessed,” Jake Srp, the board of directors’ vice president, said.
Nonetheless, it will need repairs and renovations, including a new roof, which will cost around $600,000, Shelley Srp said. The neon lights in the marquee and tower are also out of commission after a fire earlier this year.
The fact the building dates to 1950 also complicates the renovation process.
“Everything in there is 1950 — the breakers, the plumbing, everything. It’s not just taking a building that’s 20 years old and remodeling it,” the council board’s previous president, Roy Ortolon, said.
Of course, all those repairs require money, and the council has already started its local fundraising efforts, including a letter which apparently garnered a “wonderful response.”
The effort has also earned support from the Trull Foundation to help fund cleaning up some debris that accumulated inside the building.
The positive reaction they’ve gotten so far has excited the council’s board, though they recognize the renovation process will be a multiyear endeavor. 
“There’s reason to be optimistic,” Jake Srp said.
Ian Grenier covers K-12 and higher education for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach him at [email protected]
You can find more information about the theatre or make a donation to the Texana Arts Council at ednatheatre.com

Edna Elementary School’s students get a boost each morning when they’re ushered across the street by an elaborately costume-clad teacher. 
Education Reporter
Ian Grenier writes about K-12 and higher education for the Victoria Advocate. He grew up in South Carolina and studied history and political science at the University of South Carolina.
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Fred Soto said:
We are so sorry for your loss. Warren would always say Good morning to us. Going to miss that. Our prayers and condolences to the family.
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Mary Helen Pena said:
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Ricky Lenz said:
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Darla Hardwick said:
Holy Spirit be with this family and those who love this Child of God🙏
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Gloria Wallace said:
Offering condolences 🙏🏽 to the Family, from the Wallace Family!
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