Ann Arbor's non-profit center for fine film and the performing arts



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About The State Theatre

See the current schedule here.

Famed theater architect C. Howard Crane, who also designed the Fox Theater in Detroit, designed the State Theatre in downtown Ann Arbor. Built in 1942, the State Theatre was the last commercial building to be completed in Ann Arbor after the start of World War II. During the war, building was restricted due to rationing of construction materials. Patrons of the theater fondly remember the blue neon clock to the side of the screen. The clock was there to keep co-eds aware of the time so that they wouldn’t be late for dormitory curfews that were enforced during the 1940s, 1950s and into the 1960s. Built solely to show movies (with only a screen and no usable stage), the State Theatre is a high-style art deco cinema.

The building was owned and operated by the Butterfield Theater Company until the early 1980s. Butterfield also operated the historic Michigan Theater a half block away from the State in addition to many other theaters in and around Ann Arbor.In the early 1980s, the George Kerasotes Corporation (GKC) took ownership of the building. GKC owned a chain of theaters in the mid-west and their signature carpeting can still be seen on the floor of the State Theater lobby today. As with so many movie palaces throughout the country, the theater was “quaded” (sub-divided into four smaller theaters) at this time to better compete with the new trend in movie theaters – multiple screens — both the main floor and the balcony were divided to have two screens each.

In 1987, GKC pulled out of Ann Arbor and Tom Borders (co-founder of the Borders bookstore chain) bought the building as a real estate investment. The first floor was gutted and converted to retail space to make room for a new commercial retail tenant, Urban Outfitters.

In 1997, the current owners of the State Theatre, a group of private investors, hired the Michigan Theater’s Film Programming and Marketing teams to provide booking and marketing services. Future plans include improving the seating and making both theaters handicapped accessible.

Location

At the east end of Liberty Street, above Urban Outfitters in downtown Ann Arbor.

233 State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Directions

From DETROIT:

I-94 West to State St. (Exit #177). Right (north) about 2.5 miles. Theater is on the right at the intersection of Liberty and State Streets.

From SOUTH of Ann Arbor:

U.S. 23 North to I-94 West. Follow above directions.

From Detroit’s NORTH-WEST Suburbs:

I-696 West to I-275 South to M-14 West OR I-96 West to M-14 West. (M-14 merges with U.S. 23 for a stretch, then M-14 splits off again) Exit at Ann Arbor Downtown Business 23; exit ramp merges with Main St. headed south. Go south about 2 miles. Turn left (east) onto Huron St. turn right (south) onto State St. Theater is two blocks down on the left at the intersection of Liberty and State Streets.

From FLINT and NORTH of Ann Arbor:

U.S. 23 South to M-14 West. Follow above directions.

From GRAND RAPIDS and WEST of Ann Arbor:

I-94 East to Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor (Exit #172). Straight (east) on Jackson about 3 miles. [Turns into Huron about halfway.] Turn right (south) onto State St. Theater is two blocks down on the left at the intersection of Liberty and State Streets.

Parking

Parking meters are located on most downtown streets, and include 30 minute, 1 hour, and 2 hour meters. Cost is $1.50 per hour, Monday-Saturday, 8 AM-6 PM. Free daily after 6 PM, Sundays, and all federal holidays observed by city employees.

The closest parking structures are:

Maynard Street Parking Structure

One block south of the theater, with entrances off Maynard Street and Thompson Street. Cost is $1.20 per hour Monday-Friday before 3 PM, $3 flat rate Monday-Friday after 3 PM, and $3 all day Saturday. Free on Sundays and all federal holidays observed by city employees.

The Liberty Square Parking Structure

One block north of the theater with the entrance off Washington Street. Pedestrian entrances on both Washington and Liberty Streets. Cost is $1.20 per hour Monday-Saturday. Free on Sundays and all federal holidays observed by city employees.