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Someone You Should Know: Helping the State Theatre make a comeback

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 7:27 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A theater kid from Madison, South Dakota grew up and eventually found her place in the business she loves.

She’s helping to lead the historic State Theatre in Sioux Falls through its first blockbuster year in quite some time.

“‘So you get the bug, right?’ Once you get involved and you kind of have this high of this wonderful thing that’s happening, this performance and through that, I think you also fall in love with theaters.”

Allison Weiland has had a lifelong love affair with the arts.

“Whether it was performing or organizing events and just being part of that whole scene.”

She would go on to get her degree in theater at SDSU, performing in plays during her time in Brookings. But she came to an important realization.

“I think I was just kind of burnt out of being on the stage and I saw that my skills were growing in other areas: working with audiences, pulling together marketing materials, and getting out organizing people to come together, so I really like that for a good cause.”

Allison started working for a DVD company in Minneapolis.

“That’s where I really got the movie bug.”

A bug that would help bring her back to South Dakota.

“The State Theatre closed in 1990. And unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to come when I was a kid. I think there are a lot of people in town who have just walked past the building multiple times and never knew the treasure that was inside. So, I had heard from family and friends that the State Theatre was looking to hire someone full-time. They hadn’t had a full-time employee for a while. And I was looking for a new challenge, something interesting, and it’s exactly the road that we decided to take. We moved our family from Minneapolis to here, we love it here, we live just a few blocks away so it’s really been a win-win.”

She’s been working for the State Theatre since 2017, the majority of that time as executive director.

“Right now, we have two full-time employees and I’m one of them, so we wear a lot of different hats. For the main part, we’re a non-profit, independent cinema. So, it’s programming each week, a variety of content, running the non-profit, fundraising, corporate sponsorships, it’s also making popcorn, vacuuming, it’s a lot of hands-on stuff.”

Allison is at the helm during a big year for the State Theatre, re-opening in December of 2020 and now, entering a summer, unlike last year during the pandemic.

“We’ve been open now for six months, we’ve shown more than 120 different movies and had a lot of people through our doors and I think we’re figuring it all out and we’re just really happy where we’re at right now.”

Allison says their work is not done yet. They’re still fundraising to complete construction on the upper levels of the theatre.

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