The Montana Theatre is a privately owned and run movie theater in Miles City, Montana.
The theater is currently under refurbishment to restore its former glory, add structural updates, along with modernizing the sound and audio equipment for the best possible theatre-going experience.
The new owners also have the vision to not only present more movies at a time (adding a third screen) but to open up the main stage for live performances, turning the theater into a dual-purpose venue.
Montana Theatre History
The Montana Theatre in Miles City was built in 1936 with a seating configuration of a long, narrow layout with the regular flaked floor in the front for two-thirds of the auditorium and stadium-style seating toward the back of the theater.
The theatre was built by Herman Knutson and run by his wife, Sue, in the early days. The theater once had an apartment over it Sue lived while she ran the theater.
The doorway in the upper balcony back in the day was the pathway to her apartment. In the basement of the theater, there was a tiny bar space built for imbibement as you waited for a showing to begin or post show.
The new owners, John and Jennifer Goff, purchased the Montana Theatre in 2021 with the intent of restoring the old building to its former beauty. “Seeing the theater sit empty for so long had been weighing on us” they stated on the company’s Facebook page.
These active members of the Miles City community are invested in the restoration and historical preservation of the historic buildings in the city and have fond memories of going to the Montana as kids. Their desire is to make the Montana a community gathering place.
Part of their vision for this beautiful theatrical space is to expand the theater’s purview beyond showing films and bringing live performances back into the space. They’ve been working with a local theater group, the Barn Players, to create the right front stage area in the building.
They’re also turning the cinema auditorium into a three-screen theater, with one large and two smaller cinemas – allowing the front stage (the largest) to function as both a theatrical performance and cinema stage.
As the couple has worked on renovations, they’re adding new seats to the two new screen cinemas, tore out the old concessions stand to uncover and restore the grand staircase, creating a new concessions area, adding a party rental room, installing a new roof, replace old boilers and install a new HVAC system, restore old embellishments as able, uncover the original green terrazzo floor, repaint the marquee, replace windows, restore the “Montana” sign, make the restrooms accessible, and, of course, paint up a storm!
They’re also working to restore the electrical system, update electronic equipment, and add the divider walls to section off the two new screen rooms. The newly updated theater has held one performance (March 2022) and eagerly looks forward to more soon.
Montana Theatre Details
The Montana Theater is currently undergoing refurbishment, though they just hosted their first live performance of Arsenic and Old Lace on the mainstage.
Check their website or Facebook page for updates on the process as they move toward opening their doors full-time soon.
- 905 Main St, Miles City, MT
- Seating capacity:
- (406) 232-2958
- Season: Year-round
- Open Hours: Varies based on showtimes
Shows & Events
Formerly, the Montana was a film cinema where patrons could go to enjoy a film screening. Now, the Montana welcomes patrons to both film showings and live theatrical performances, as offered The Barn Players, a local community theater group.
The most recent show at the Montana by the Barn Players was Arsenic and Old Lace, a classic whodunnit performed by the Barn Players. Some past shows by the Barn Players have included Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr., Glitter Girls, All Together Now, Oliver the Musical, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
There are currently no movies playing at the Montana, while they finish renovations on the cinema spaces.
To see other upcoming shows – both live and film – check the website for information.