The Princess Theatre

An Arts, Education, Entertainment, and Conference Center
421 N. Roane Street
Harriman, TN 37748

The Vision | The History | Take a Seat

Opening night of the newly-renovated Princess, March 22, 2012

Princess Theatre Links:

Princess Theater Blog
Princess Theater Facebook Page
Channel 15 Facebook Page
For events contact
the Theater Manager:

Megan Anderson
To book the theater contact:
Diane Cox

The Vision for the Princess

Photo provide by David Blanchard
Owned by the City of Harriman, the hope is that the theater becomes the centerpiece to spearhead redevelopment and "to revitalize historic downtown Harriman as a viable Regional Arts Education, Entertainment and Conference Center."  Roane State Community College, with support from the Princess Theater Foundation, operates the theater and Channel 15 located next door to the theatre.

One of the most important roles the Princess will play is in providing a venue for educating students of all ages about the arts by giving them a place to gain the experience.  Students at Roane County schools can be involved in communication, performing arts, music, and more.  Tennessee Technology Center will offer students experience in theater and entertainment lighting, sound development and stage design.  While Roane State Community College will give students opportunity to take classes in radio and mass communications, computer art and design, television production, and more.

The Princess may show movies from time to time but the stage will now be the primary showcase for the Princess, which was increased to allow for live shows, plays, recitals, concerts and more. 

'Take a Seat' to Support the Princess

There are many ways the community can help support the Princess Theater.  Here is just one - an individual or business can not only support the theater but also "take a seat" by purchasing a permanent plaque that will be placed on the back of one of the seats. Complete a Take a Seat form and depending on how much you want to spend, you can have a plaque engraved to memorialize someone special, promote your business, or just to say "well done" to all those who worked so hard to see this theater come back to life.  Seat sponsors still must purchase tickets to any performance at the theater and are not guaranteed seating in chairs bearing their name plaques.  For the form (pdf) click here.

The History of the Princess

March 22, 2012 was the 4th opening held for the Princess Theater.  The first was its opening in September 1926 by Crescent Amusement and touted as one of the larger movie theaters in a small town.  Six years later the theater suffered some minor fire damage and in January 1939 a larger blaze destroyed the building.

The theater was rebuilt and reopened later that year on November 16 to a showing of "Fifth Avenue Girl" starring Ginger Rogers.  The theater was owned by Sudekum Theatres.  L.W. Bevel was the manager.

The theater thrived for years but in 1987 theater manager Cecil Johnson began to lease the theater after learning the current owner planned to close it.  It stayed open until 1999 when Cecil retired.

Before the Princess could reign once again, a complete renovation had to happen.  Beginning in 2001, the City of Harriman, along with the local schools, businesses, and community leaders, started working together to renovate the theater.  The Princess Theatre Foundation formed in 2004 to raise money for the project.  The renovation was also supported by a $317,000 grant awarded to the City of Harriman by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and $1.7 million donated by TVA.  Sparkman and Associates Architects were hired to restore the Princess in September 2009.

The stage was more than doubled in size and the theater was restored back to its 1930s art deco grandeur inside and out. The auditorium includes 544 seats plus handicap spaces.  Two neighboring buildings were connected to the theater to allow for new restrooms, dressing room, green room, storage and an elevator.  Part of the Princess Theater renovation was the creation of a state-of-the-art television studio next door that will produce and broadcast from the theater.  Channel 15 calls this space home, providing not only training for future producers and broadcasters but also top-notch television shows and videos.