Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.

The Historic Ute Theatre - Downtown - Saguache, CO

The Historic Ute Theatre
The Historic Ute Theatre lobby

The Ute Theatre was originally built in 1916 by Judd Keyes. It began as a Livery Stable. In the late 40's Ross Lambert bought it and added the second story and built what is now, The Historic Ute Theatre.

According to long time locals, the Theatre had it's hayday in the 50's (much like most of our country) One old time photo shows the lines of people wrapped around the block, as these were the days when people visited the theatre for not only entertainment but for current news reels as well. The theatre has come in and out of ownership and leasing over the years, managing only to remain open for about a year at a time.

In 2003 my husband and I bought property outside of Saguache in hopes of retiring there someday. The theatre was open and showing top run films on the weekends. Within a few months the theatre closed. In the fall of 2008 my father passed away, and my choice was this; I could put tmy portion of the money from the sale of his house in a CD, or (go the crazy route ) and buy a Theatre.

The town of Saguache is home to about 600 people. I originally showed top run movies every weekend including a matinee. I continued this for about 18 months realizing weekly that it was increasingly difficult to make enough money to even cover the cost of getting a top run film to the theatre. By the end of the18 months I had to close and rethink this venture.

I had become friends with a local woman, Virginia Drake, who had a passion for theatre. She formed a local Theatre Company and struggled to find a venue for it, actually leasing this theatre while it was closed, to host the one or two performances she put on. Since I open The Historic Ute Theatre, it is now the home of The San Luis Valley Theatre Company. (a non profit under ScSEED). They put on 5 productions per year, including Vaudeville, Childrens, Melodrama, and Christimas. They have also offered theatrical workshops.

The 2011 Season has a new schedule. We are no longer limited to just top run films. We have partnered with ScSeed who graciously sponsores the Rocky Mountain PBS Independent Lens series of Community Cinema. These are free screenings available to the community on current social issues. They are shown during the PBS season (9 months) on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm, and host a panel of guests for discussion after the conclusion of the film.

I have introduced Live Music to the schedule hoping to offer this once a month. In addition to that we have also contracted a Comedy Improve Troupe. We are also looking at hosting Wii games, including a bowing league. The theatre is also available for lease for birthday parties, meetings, family reunions, or just a fun night out to watch a movie or play xbox or karaoke on the big screen. We have a full line of concessions along with hot foods.

When you step into the Historic Ute Theatre through the tourquoise double doors, you step into the 50's, the past, where life was a little easier, a little simpler- candy apple red, canary yellow and smiles....




Seasons Open: April 1st, through December 31st.

Hours Open: Weekends

Fees: Varies depending on event - ex. Live Theatre $8-$15, Top Run Film $7 -$6, PBS Films- Free, Music-$6 + up

 ADA Accessibility Notes

Yes, (see about this venue)

 Eco-Friendly Notes

Bring a blanket, it gets cold!

The building is brick, yet the actual theatre is a building within a building. It was framed inside the brick structure with 2 x 6's and a has a 2 foot void on the sidewalls and a 6 foot void to the roof. The first Fall that I owned it, I installed Batt Insulation to all the walls, and blow-in insulation to the top side of the ceiling. My hope is to someday sprayfoam the inside of the brick structure and utilize rooftop solar power, along with a ground tire composite flooring for the theatre section. It is on a slant which drops below grade and holds the cold.

 Locally or Family Owned Business
 Pet Friendly Notes

Yes- (as long as they behave!)

For More Information, Contact:

Christine Gydesen
410 4th Street, PO Box 152, Saguache, CO 81149

Becky Houston (McDaniel) wrote on September 11, 2012: It looks beautiful, having grown up changing the marque and running the projectors for my parents it is good to see it looking so good. I still have many of the weekly show bills from the 60's to 90's and they bring back many memories of weekends when that little theatre (206 seats) was packed. Westerns were always a hit and teens had little else to do but cruise main and hit the movie every weekend. I remember my mother doing a float every year for homecoming as early as "zebra in the kitchen" yep 1965 to having my little brother dress up as little red riding hood. We had soft freeze ice cream and the best popcorn machine for 200 miles. The place has cold in winter and perfect in summer. My older brother threw my doll head with ketch-up out the side window over the seats in the Bette Davis thiller "What ever happened to Baby Jane". And Mrs Ogden had a permanent seat 4 rows down and first seat to the left every week. When we were older the Hammel's (Lynn Curtis) came for popcorn every week. Back in day the marque had thin neon running all over and was lite up in all kinds of colors. But over the years.... out of state hunter's parked under that long front end and chipped away at all that glorious glass. I see you still have those red letters and that Indian head above the poster boards. I hope the old tile is still in place in the lobbies, I wish I had a dime for every time I mopped those rooms. Forgive my mother for taking the ticket taking stand along with the red faux leather bar stools for the foutain area. They are well cared for. My family and I still think every weekend belongs to "show time" and popcorn is a staple. If walls could talk as they say. My mother loved that place and my father tolerated it for my mother's sake. I was lucky to have grown up with movies in my life. The McDaniel Family thanks you for your care.

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Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Latitude: 38.087500000
Longitude: -106.141967100
Elevation: 7706 FT (2349 M)
Meet the Contributor:
Christine Gydesen
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