In Alva, Oklahoma, you can see live theatre and musical performances through the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Theatre and Music Departments, the Northwest Oklahoma Concert Series, and Alva Community Theatre. Movies are shown at the Rialto Theatre. The performing arts have been a part of Alva since an opera house was constructed in 1909.
Through a series of land runs and lotteries, Oklahoma Territory was settled by people with expectations for a better life. In the late nineteenth century new towns in the Oklahoma and Indian territories quickly sprang up; railroad stations were built to handle shipping and travel, board walks were laid in front of main-street businesses, churches were raised and schools developed, and in many towns an opera house building anchored a corner lot or was the central business building along Main Street. Often the words “Opera House” appeared on the facade of these structures. These buildings served their communities as civic centers and community gathering places, and the published address of businesses nearby was often simply “the Opera House Block.” Alva was no different.
In July of 1907 it was believed an opera house was needed in Alva. The Commercial Club was pushing for it to be built. James Hunter and W.H. Wiggins met with the club and agreed to construct the opera house on lots Wiggins controlled. The brick building was 110 feet long and 50 feet wide. It had a seating capacity of 850 people. The stage was 50 by 30 feet. The building was completed in January, 1909, and cost between $20 and 25,000 dollars. The stage was 50 by 30 feet. There were special boxes for people that could afford the higher prices. The trimmings on the inside were very lavish and attributed to the appearance.
Many companies played at the Opera House and people who attended the shows were impressed with the interior decorations and that the structure in and out compared with the opera houses in the metropolitan cities. The Opera House later became the Liberty Theatre. Unfortunately, the building, along with several other buildings, burned in the early 1980s.
Plan your visit to Alva and enjoy a play, musical, concert, or movie. Bookmark our events calendar.