Theater campaign gets boost

WINCHESTER — The Winchester Little Theatre is getting by with a little help from its friends.

The theater received a $25,000 pledge from Preservation of Historic Winchester Inc. Friday morning for its restoration campaign.

The campaign aims to raise $650,000 to fund needed repairs, including replacing the theater’s roof and restoring its brick masonry. The contribution from PHW lifts funding to about $410,000.

Dolly Vachon, development chair on the theater’s board of directors, said it’s been “astonishing” to see the amount of community support for the project.

“We’re just ending our first year of the three-year campaign, so it’s very celebratory that we’re ending with this,” she said.

The building, located at 315 W. Boscawen St. in Winchester, is 120 years old. It once served as the Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Station.

The Winchester Little Theatre first moved into the building in 1974.

Now in its 50th year, Preservation of Historic Winchester has awarded grants to preserve various buildings, including the Patsy Cline Historic Home and the Baker Street warehouse, though PHW President John Barker said this latest contribution is “up there at the top” in terms of dollar value.

“It basically supports our mission and that’s to see historic structures preserved,” he said. “The Winchester Little Theatre has been a great partner with us for a few years, and we saw the need and just felt it was exactly what we should be doing.”

Theater President Henry Tickner said the restoration project will transform the old railroad station so “it’s here 200 years from now.”

He said the Winchester Little Theatre, along with the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, will be designated as part of a state historic district and will serve as the western gateway to the city.

“My wife and I have only lived in Winchester for a short time,” Tickner said, “but we’ve been continually impressed with the efforts to keep Winchester looking unlike a chrome and steel city, but looking the way Winchester ought to look.”

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com