A Short History of Proctors
What began as a vaudeville theatre in the early 20th century is now the Capital Region’s destination for major Broadway shows, cutting-edge film festivals, exciting special events, and everything in between.
Built in 1926 by F. F. Proctor, the “Dean of Vaudeville,” Proctors on State Street in Schenectady was a popular theatre that used a method of continuous performance to draw huge crowds and numerous famous vaudevillians of that era. In 1930, Proctors hosted the first public demonstration of television with the help of General Electric. However, the arrival of this exciting invention and the onset of the Great Depression led to the decline of the theatre, and Proctors was closed for decades.
After changing hands multiple times and almost being torn down in the 1970s, a group of concerned citizens banded together to save Proctors. This group, known as the Arts Center & Theatre of Schenectady (ACT), worked tirelessly to repair the theatre and held a fundraiser to save the property. With federal and city funds, ACT was able to restore Proctors and re-open in 1979 for a trial season. Since then, Proctors has proven its value to the community and gained momentum, and has become the motivating factor for the revitalization of Schenectady’s downtown area.
Over the past decade, Proctors has expanded and made numerous renovations, which have made it possible to accommodate large Broadway productions, giant screen films, local performers, and ever-growing audiences from around the country.