The theater was converted to sound in 1929 in the early days of “talkies.” The management was leased in early 1930 and operated as “The New Regent” Theater. When the lease terminated, the owners returned to management, re-opening on April 24, 1930 using the original name, “The Theatre Angola”.
To remain competitive with movie houses of the surrounding communities, a group of local businessmen leased the theater, made improvements in the sound system and opened on November 11, 1930 under the name “The New Angola Theater.” Its first run was the movie Good News, which proved to be a prophetic title.
The theater contributed to the cultural and economic stability of the community as it became an entertainment center, frequently used for a variety of public functions such as local theatricals, home-town talent shows, minstrel shows, essay contests, Christmas parties, musicals and graduation ceremonies, all of which contributed to the well-being of the community.
In 1934, Angola resident Willis Carrier, inventor of the air conditioner, delivered the 50th annual commencement address to Lake Shore High School’s graduating class of 1934 inside the theater.
Even more impressively, on October 17, 1965, Robert Kennedy visited Angola while on his political campaign trail, addressing a crowd from the theater’s front steps.
Following previous management of Sylvester J. Graff, the theater was transferred in 1948 to Mr. Richard Geitner who operated the “New Angola Theater” until his retirement in 1995, at which time the building was put up for sale, and subsequently closed for nearly seven years.
The theater’s closure contributed to a negative impact on the business community and quality of life of the residents of the Angola community. In 2001, the Claddagh Commission, with a desire to give something back to the community which embraced it, and at the same time provide meaningful work opportunities for the individuals they serve, purchased, restored and reopened the vacant theater.
Claddagh re-opened the New Angola Theater with a grand opening on the evening of May 17, 2002, which featured dinner and a movie.
On November 3, 2011, Puss In Boots was the last movie shown on film, and beginning November 6, 2011, the theater began showing movies using a digital projector, also capable of 3D movies.
With the merger between sasi and the Claddagh Commission in 2016, the theater is now an enterprise of sasi, a fellow nonprofit agency that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Today, the theater presents first-run films, serving communities surrounding the Village of Angola and beyond. It also provides meaningful employment to individuals with disabilities who tend to the theater’s patrons, operations and maintenance.