Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Deming's theatres, old and new
Among Deming's landmark buildings and ruins are several old theatres. There were live theatres and movie theatres, places that once catered to the military bases nearby and the military families that lived in town. The new health clinic is in an old theatre cafe, that was in operation until the owner moved on to Albuquerque.
This building, on Pine Street near the interstate, is one of these places. It was a theatre, and later a skating rink, and in recent years was the home to a dance school (the faded sign is still on the front) and then a church. It has been empty for a while now. A couple of prospective tenants have looked in, but rumor is a prior tenant ran out on a large electric bill and no one wants to settle it.
In 1924, William Jennings Bryan stumped here in support of the Democratic ticket running against President Coolidge. He gave a two-hour speech.
Deming still enjoys live theatre and there have been groups putting up plays in the lecture hall at the refurbished train depot, or the Tumbleweed Theatre down in the village of Columbus. There used to be plays staged at Morgan Hall, produced by the Deming Performing Arts Theatre, but that organization focuses more on presenting music. The last play they produced was in 2009: a production of Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol directed by yours truly.
And in 2007, they built a brand-new outdoor theatre, with the capacity to seat a thousand, in Voiers Park. For the most part it sits locked up behind chain link and barbed wire. The city and I have been in talks about bringing in some appropriate shows so the theatre gets some use and some young artists I've met get a chance to practice their art in an outdoor venue.
Odd to be putting on the producer hat, but when there's a need...