Rialto Theatre History
(Formerly Crawford Theatre - 1912 Canton, PA)
Originally built as the Crawford Theatre by Hugh Crawford, the Rialto Theatre opened on Christmas Day, 1912. The Crawford (Rialto) Theatre had 308 seats and was billed as “Canton’s Center of Amusement.” For many years, the Rialto was the domain of Lou Smithgall Anderson. Several generations of small Cantonians had their first “window on the world”, along with lessons in the art of behaving in public, at the Rialto on Saturday afternoons. The Lou Smithgall Museum located in the Theatre creates a space of memories and memorabilia of Lou Smithgall Anderson’s time as owner and operator of the Rialto. In 1994, the Bradford County Regional Arts Council (BCRAC) purchased the Rialto Theatre, and in less than one year, a major renovation transformed the Rialto into a fully operational movie theatre again, complete with surround sound stereo, a new platter movie projection system, new seating, along with new heating and air conditioning units. These renovations were fully funded by Canton community support.
On May 27th, 2013 the Theatre was temporarily shutdown in order to convert from the old industry standard 35 mm projector to a fully digital projector with 3D capabilities. In addition to the projector conversion, the Rialto also underwent a mini renovation. Thanks to staff, local contractors and wonderful volunteers, the theatre was cleaned from top to bottom and received a new paint job and other needed repairs. The Rialto Theatre reopened with a Red Carpet Event highlighting its first 3D movie, “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”
The 2015-16 season continues with renewed energy at the Rialto Theatre. If you are looking for entertainment, we have it for you. The Rialto offers premiere movies, film festivals, live entertainment on stage ranging from classical to country as well as organizations using the Rialto for lecture series, meetings and much more.
The Rialto Theatre will continue to present national releases while adding to their lineup independent films, classic movies, and film festivals. The “Thursdays at the Rialto” series returns this season and includes a variety of artists and musicians – offering a diverse series of 4 concerts not to be missed! For more information on these events and the Rialto Theatre itself, please visit www.bcrac.org or speak to one of the staff at the Theatre.
Our Rialto Theatre manager is Kelsey Dowling. Lauren Preston, Jane Holcomb, Ethan Emiliani, and Victoria Preston serve as movie managers. Emma Boyd, Nate Schoonover, Alyssa Blazer, and Zach Schrader serve as Theatre Floor Staff. Each year the Rialto provides employment to local high school youth who work at the concession and ticket booth.
The Rialto is also very fortunate to have an active community based Advisory Committee that organizes and works at events to help raise funds that go to maintain and repair our historic Theatre. Currently they are running a 144 Envelope Fund Drive and will be having Girls Night Out, and host the 2015-16 “Thursdays at the Rialto” concert series. The committee also assists the Theatre manager and BCRAC in bringing the Missoula Children’s Theatre to Troy and Canton. If you are interested in supporting your Rialto Theatre or join the Advisory Committee please contact our Theatre Manager, Kelsey Dowling.