The State Theater is Born Again

by Nick Molnar on August 4, 2006

On June 30, 1934, near the State Theater in downtown South Bend, John Dillinger robbed the last bank of his fabled crime spree. His gang killed a police officer, wounded four citizens, and left with about $30,000. Dillinger was killed in Chicago less than a month later, but the State Theater remains and is now ready for its next incarnation.

The South Bend Tribune reports the building has been purchased by Lester L. Sumrall, grandson of the founder of LeSEA Christian broadcast network, and is being prepped for use as a “cultural events center with a Christian focus.” With any luck, the theater will become as successful as the World Pulse Festival, a LeSEA sponsored event. The World Pulse Festival falls on August 19th this year.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy August 4, 2006 at 10:25 am

That\’s great news. Nice to hear a building with such history is going to be used again instead of sitting around vacant. Hopefully South Bend will continue doing more of this clean up work.


Joe August 4, 2006 at 12:24 pm

When I was a kid I sent many a Saturday afternoon at the State. Movies then cost .35 and popcorn was a dime. I can remember standing in lines that wrapped around the block to see popular movies of the time. Titles like “The Red Planet” and “The Tingler” and “Old Yeller”. The State was a fantastic place to us kids in those days. It seemed huge and mysterious. I loved sitting in the balcony, eating popcorn and milk duds, slurrping on a coke and getting lost in the wonderful world of the movie at hand


Looking to the future of SB August 5, 2006 at 11:37 pm

Don’t compare the State Theatre to the World Pulse Festival. They have 2 completely separate goals.

To purchase a historic building of that magnitute in the middle of a city to carry out mission work for the community under the eye of the local media (excluding channel 46) is putting faith right out there front and center. People are sweating real sweat day after day in an effort to get the center off the ground and ready to open the doors.

To have a big concert one day a year, no matter who plays, who attends, who walks away feeling good is an example of the faith too many others have. “Holiday faith” where people just want to have fun and not put the labor and the research into the journey.

World Pulse Festival is a great concert.

The State Theatre is a grassroots movement of a new generation of believers.

Two totally different things.


Dave Gish December 3, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Do you have any information about how to purchase the Avon Theater?


Richard September 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm

wherre is the avon theatre?


Dave Gish December 3, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Can the Avon theater be purchased?


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