The Matthews Opera House in Spearfish was built in 1906 for stage productions and traveling shows. By the 1920s, it was primarily a movie house. After a new movie theater was opened down the street, the opera house was used as everything from a shooting gallery to a practice basketball court. By the mid-1950s, the building was falling into disrepair.
There were efforts to revive the facility, including productions of Paul Higbee’s The Phantom of the Matthews Opera House, which played for summer audiences for several years beginning in 1976. Restoration work began in the mid-to-late 1980s, and continued in phases before it was completed in time for the opera house’s centennial in 2006. Today the Matthews Opera House and Arts Center is again hosting live theater, concerts and various other arts events.
During a Dakota Midday broadcast from the opera house, marketing manager Jayne Rose discussed the latest events, including receiving a $100,000 Community Creativity Cohort grant from the Bush Foundation.