ABOUT THE OPERA HOUSE

While St. George opera DOES NOT perform in the opera house (this serves as the home to St. George Musical Theater),  the opera house continues to be a cultural center for the community.  From 1875 until the 1930s, this building was also the cultural center of the community. The slope of the floor was mechanically adjustable to afford an excellent view of the stage. Local dramatic clubs and outside players presented refined productions with elaborate scenery. The building was used for many years by the U&I Sugar Company for offices and beet seed storage. Recently it has been restored and has once again become the heart of the downtown historic district.

The original structure or the cellar of this building was used as the wine storehouse (1865) for the LDS Church's sacramental offerings. By 1880, the building was completed with a large addition to the west, creating the traditional T-shaped theatrical design. 

 

 

 

 


It was first known as the Social Hall, taking over functions of the old Social Hall down on Main Street. This community-centered building held a variety of social events including dances, theatrical performances, musicals, public meetings, and classes. By the turn of the century, operettas became quite popular and the name of the building evolved to the St. George Opera House. 

In 1930, the Opera House was sold to the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company for use as a sugar beet seed factory. The St. George Social Hall (Opera House) was put on the National Register of Historic Places (#1991000360) on April 3, 1991. The St. George Social Hall & Opera House was restored and became part of the Pioneer Center for the Arts, completed in 1996. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commentary by Mary Phoenix: 
The St. George Social Hall or Opera House was constructed in 1875, not quite fourteeen years after the pioneers first entered the St. George valley. Joseph Smith taught that "man is that he might have joy", and Smith's followers interpreted this "joy" to be participation in and enjoyment of the cultural arts, and this they did assiduously. The first drama was presented locally in a bowery made of tumble weeds just nine months after the city's birth. 
On the northeast corner of Main street where it bisects Diagonal, there was a wine celler used to store Dixie wine which was turned in as tithing. The Builders' Union constructed a theater over the wine cellar, using it as a stage. The completed building, which seated four hundred people, had a large stage, commodious dressing rooms, excellent acoustics, an orchestra pit, and real scenery bought from a bankrupt New York opera company. The crowning glory of the building was its mechanized floor which could be raised to a sloping position so that the occupants of every seat could have an unobstructed view of the stage, or the floor could be lowered for dances. For fifty years it was the center of social and cultural life in the Cotton Mission. 

 

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180 N. Main #3108

St. George, Ut. 84771

(435) 668-7313

St. George Opera is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit arts organization.