In 2012, a team of valley residents dreamed of preserving Hemet’s vintage movie house, transforming it into a vibrant community arts center. It was hoped that the project would bring quality, affordable entertainment to the area and help to revitalize the city’s Historic Downtown District.

Today, that dream is a reality. The HHT Foundation has purchased the building and completed key components of the renovation plans. The COVID shutdown allowed time for a major transformation of the lobby and the audiences are back, bigger than ever.

2021 is the 100th anniversary of William Martin’s beloved theatre and the community is celebrating with a series of special events, starting with a “Century Celebration” on August 25th, hosted by the Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Greater San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce. It was the first time that the two organizations have joined together for an event.

The emcee for the program was local celebrity Jerome Robinson, lead singer of the 2nd Generation Platters. Along with his signature humor, Jerome shared his perspective as a performer on the great sound and enthusiastic audiences that make HHT a favorite place to perform.

Hemet Mayor Karlee Meyer and members of the City Council began the celebration by presenting CEO Susan Carrier with a Key to the City.

Members of the Hemet City Council present CEO Susan Carrier with a Key to the City

Next, dozens of dignitaries came forward to present HHT with Certificates of Recognition from the City of Hemet, the City of San Jacinto, County Supervisor Chuck Washington, District Assemblymen (Districts 42, 67 and 71), State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh, and US Congressman Raul Ruiz, as well as from both Chambers of Commerce.

At the end of the program, a surprise announcement was made. Tom Westley of the Press Enterprise came forward to announce that in mid-September, the PE Best of the Inland Empire Awards will include HHT as a top music venue in the Inland Empire.

In her closing remarks, CEO Carrier emphasized the importance of continuing the renovation efforts. “In eight years, we have turned this doomed old building into a thriving community arts center. But there is much to be done to realize the potential here – not only to preserve one of the oldest movie houses in the country, but to bring quality, affordable entertainment to the valley and revitalize Hemet’s Downtown District. We need the valley community to provide the financial support to make that happen.”

Following the ceremony, a Tribute to Bread was performed by “Pure Bread” – one of HHT’s tribute bands scheduled to appear next year.

Watch for more events celebration the 100th anniversary of the Historic Hemet Theatre!

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Celebrating 100 Years