Commissioned in 1929 by Warner Brothers Studios and opened in 1931, Warner Theatre is an iconic landmark in the town of Erie, Pennsylvania. The venue operated as a vaudeville theatre until it was sold to the city of Erie in 1976, which saved it from demolition.
After it was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1982, plans to convert it to a performing arts centre firmed up in 1992. The venue was a roadhouse with no in-house technology, so whoever rented the venue – be it a theatrical production, philharmonic series, the local ballet company or a concert tour – would have to bring all their own equipment. To bring it in line with the theatre facilities of today, a complete overhaul of the building was needed, and this was recognised back in the midnineties under the guidance of former Executive Director of Erie Events John ‘Casey’ Wells, who served this role from 1992 until his retirement in 2022.