Totah Theater Shows Off New Look to Historic Venue

7/6/2021

The historic Totah Theater in downtown Farmington has undergone a huge facelift, and with it comes expectations and excitement for the return of live theater on stage, and perhaps an increased role for the city in future film and television production. By Steve Bortstein. Sponsored by Traegers and Distil Beer Wine Spirits

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The City of Farmington has a number of venues for its thriving live theater community, but few are as iconic as the Totah Theater. After a lengthy renovation project, the city recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Totah, signaling its near readiness for a grand reopening. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Traegers and Distil. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. A $1.5 million renovation project is nearly complete at the Totah Theater located on Main Street in historic Downtown Farmington. The project features new painting, new flooring, and upgrades on all three levels of the facility to benefit both performers, as well as fans and supporters of live theater and future film productions. A ribbon cutting ceremony in June celebrated the work that's been completed and kick-started the live theater season. Upgrades to the facility will also allow the city to lease office space on the third floor to film and television industry representatives who are becoming more active in San Juan County and across New Mexico. The theater will serve as the home of operations for Totah Studios. San Juan County spokesman, Devin Neely says the city and county expect the newly renovated office spaces to entice film and television producers to Farmington. Farmington Mayor, Nate Duckett told Farmington Local News that the city, as well as surrounding communities continue to be popular for filmmakers.

Of course, what the state of New Mexico is investing in film, I mean we've just seen NBC Universal opened up their, their offices today. Netflix obviously heavily invested, here. We've seen films like "Jumanji" filmed right here in this area, as well just recently a Steven Spielberg movie. It was done, "News of the World" I think it was. So we see that opportunity to celebrate with the world, the unique landscapes and vistas and other components that make this part of northwest New Mexico and in the Four Corners region, itself, special but it gives us the ability to share that. And so if the state is going to invest as heavily as it did to attract these companies here, we want to attract them all the way up here to the Four Corners.

San Juan County Commissioner, John Beckstead said the theater renovation has been important to the restoration of Downtown Farmington.

The downtown of any area is truly the, the heart of a city. And this building, frankly, we want to make the crown jewel of our downtown.

Plans are also in place to build a back lot in Farmington. Back lots provide space to build permanent sets for production. In the meantime, the city plans a grand reopening of the renovated Totah Theater, one of more than $26 million in upgrades invested in downtown during the past several years.

So we see this historic downtown literally as the heart of the city. Many people ask the question why are you investing so much in this portion of town when everything's moving east? Well, because this portion of town is worth, worth saving and celebrating. And so we spent between the Main Street renovation project, the Civic Center project, and now the Totah Theater, over $26 million of public dollars have gone in to renovate this area to make it. You know, we want it, we want to create that space for the artists to come in and entrepreneurs to come in and build this up so that it's something unique so when you come to Farmington, it's that special memory that you have, and you've created from this areas.

The City of Farmington recently announced the next live production at nearby Lyons Wilderness Park will take place July 8th through August 1 when Sandstone Productions presents "Mama Mia" featuring the music of ABBA. Information for the event can be found the City of Farmington website at FMTN.org. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, serving Montezuma, San Miguel, and LaPlata counties in southwest Colorado and San Juan County in northwest New Mexico. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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