MONROE — For more than 30 years, the Carol Theater in Monroe has sat boarded up and vacant on Main Street in Monroe.
During that time, the weathering of the building had made it a popular place for photographers to take photos of families, couples and children, but the building itself had become another ghost of what Main Street had once been.
The theater closed its doors in 1981, and since that time a leaky roof caused damage to the interior. That did not stop Kevin and Tanya Boyle, who recently purchased the property to restore it and open it back up for community use.
“I’ve got big plans for this place,” Tanya said Monday morning. “It’s a little bit more of a project than I had anticipated, but my prayer is, if all goes well, that we can get our permits by summertime.”
Tanya said much of the work to restore the theater is waiting on approval from a structural engineer, as requested by Sevier County building inspector John Hicks. She said if the engineer’s opinion is favorable, they are ready to roll out the red carpet on a remodel of the entire facility.
Kevin said he is working on fixing the roof to stop the leaking water from causing further damage, but he said outside of some minor water damage, most of the work will be cosmetic to get the theater back in working order.
“We have most of the stuff to get it done, it’s just a matter of putting it in once we get the OK,” Kevin said. “We want to do this safe and do it right.”
Once the Boyles are able to get to work on restoring the building, they said they have taken out a few rows of seating and are planning to build out the stage to make it conducive to hosting community theater performances as well as live music concerts.
Tanya said she hosted a similar community theater program in Tooele, and is hoping to help introduce more youths in the area to Shakespeare and other classic theater performances, and is excited to help give more people an appreciation for stage performance.
Of course, the theater will still be a place where people can come and catch a flick as well, Kevin said.
“A lot of people around town have memories of coming and watching movies here,” Kevin said. “We want to host family nights for inexpensive movies for like a dollar or something.”
He said some rolls of quarter tickets were also recovered in the theater, and he said they are even considering hosting a 25-cent movie night.
“Everybody remembers that, it was a big thing,” Kevin said. “We want to do movies to bring that back.”
Kevin said the biggest thing is that the showhouse will not feature R-rated movies.
“People have said that an R-rated show has never been shown here, and we want to keep it that way,” Kevin said. “We want to make sure to keep this place family friendly.”
The Boyles said they are also working on setting up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for the theater as well as approaching the Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance to help get the theater back in shape.
“We plan on remodeling everything, but we plan on keeping the outside looking the same,” Tanya said. She said much of the interior will have the same look as well, with a few modifications.
“I’ve always loved old theaters,” Tanya said. “I just never imagined I’d actually own one.”