Russ Collins, Manager of Ann Arbor's Michigan Theater talked about the history of Ann Arbor's Opera Houses and Theaters at Rotary Club of Ann Arbor North's Luncheon on March 21, 2019.
 
The beginning of Ann Arbor Theaters started back from the start of Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor was founded in 1824 by land speculators John Allen and Elisha Walker Rumsey. On May 25, 1824, the town plat was registered with Wayne County as "Annarbour", the earliest known use of the town's name.  Allen and Rumsey decided to name it for their wives, both named Ann, and for the stands of bur oak. Ann Arbor became the seat of Washtenaw County in 1827 and was incorporated as a village in 1833
 
Russ talked about many of the early Opera Houses and Theaters in Ann Arbor History.  
 
Michigan Theater opened in 1928, the theater was hailed as “a Shrine to the Arts… not built for today only, but constructed in the hopes that it might be a monument for years to come and a credit to the community…” Detroit architect Maurice Finkel designed an outstanding silent film exhibition theater appropriate for a town with a world-class university at its core. 
 
In 1956, Butterfield made renovations to the theater’s interior and façade to update it to the tastes of “modern” audiences. The Butterfield Theater Corporation vacated the building at the conclusion of their 50 year lease in 1979.
 
The not-for-profit Michigan Theater Foundation (MTF) was formed in May of 1979. The theater doors opened and the programming occurred solely because of a team of dedicated community volunteers, led by film scholar and theater organist Henry Aldridge and John Briggs, who was the president of the local stagehand union. 
 
In June 2014, the Michigan Theater Foundation bought the State Theater.
 
State Theater originally opened in 1942, designed by renowned architect C. Howard Crane, opened with the romantic comedy “The Fleet’s In.” In 1977 the theater was divided into a four-screen multiplex by Butterfield Theaters. 
 
In 1987, the Stat Theater was sold to Tom Borders, who redesigned the theater’s main floor for retail and closed the second floor balcony. In 1992 the balcony reopened as a two-screen second-run film theater.
 
In 1997, the theater was sold to a local investor group. In 1999  Michigan Theater contracted to provide film programming and marketing services and in 2014 Michigan Theater purchased the theater.
 
In 2016, the State Theater closed for renovations and in 2017, the new State Theater reopened in December, featuring 4 screens, comfortable reserved seating, improved accessibility. 
 
Russ, said "that he would like us to attend this years Cinetopia Film Festival." The Cinetopia Film Festival is an annual, curated festival in Ann Arbor and metro and downtown Detroit, featuring more than 50 of the best feature-length dramas, comedies, and documentaries from the world’s best film festivals (Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, SXSW, Tribeca, and more).
 
It takes place over the span of 10 days every spring at venues throughout the region. This year the Cinetopia Film Festival is from May 10-May 19.