About UsSOPER REESE THEATRE
The Mission of the theatre is to provide a professional venue for the performing arts and community events in Lake County, California. The Soper Reese is an affiliate of the Lake County Arts Council.
In 1997 the Lake County Arts Council, with the vision of its Executive Director Jillian Billester and the generosity of Jim and Florence Soper, purchased the Lakeport Theater from Bob and Margaret Reese “to create a venue for the performing arts in Lake County.” The theater was renamed the Soper Reese Community Theatre, after its prime benefactor (the Sopers) and the historic builders of the theater (the Reeses). While the vision was realized in a short period, the condition of the facility required the closing of the theatre for several years. In 2008 the theatre was reopened, due to the efforts of many volunteers, the generosity of the community to increase local donations to $300,000, and grants from HUD and the City of Lakeport redevelopment agency totaling $450,000.
The ever-increasing uses of the theatre, true to Jillian Billester’s vision, have increased to include becoming the home of the Lake County Symphony, music and cultural educational events, classic movies, memorials, and countless fundraising events for other non-profit organizations in the community. Some of these non-profits have joined together with the Lake County Arts Council to utilize the center for joint fundraising events — a testament to a community coming together for the benefit of all. Notable are the Lake County Friends of Mendocino College, 100 Women Strong, Fire Benefits, the Lake County Theater Company, and many local fraternal organizations.
The journey isn’t over. The vision continues to be alive with plans for improvements to expand the restrooms, provide better access for handicap patrons, and increase the options for uses. Improvements will allow ever-increasing opportunities for this important facility to become more than just a venue for the performing arts, but a true gathering place for special events to benefit the entire community.