PROSSER, Wash. — Let the royal wedding metaphors begin.

Click to Watch Attached Video →


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Valley Theater Company finally tied the knot with the Princess Theatre and purchased the downtown facility it had so long pined for.

After a courtship that lasted decades, the community drama troupe finalized its $360,000 purchase of the historic downtown Prosser venue.

The two proud families made the announcement Wednesday morning, while theater company officials plan to hold an official reception for their more than 200 donors and a public open house in June.

Candace Andrews, the company’s capital campaign coordinator, celebrated privately the night before with a love-struck cartwheel in the street, she said.

“I’m thrilled really beyond words,” she said.

The honeymoon will be short, however. The work beings immediately.

Tonight, the Valley Theater Company begins its second round of performances of the comedy “The Foreigner,” with a catered dinner for Valentine’s Day. Shows continue Friday and Saturday. All curtains are at 7:30 p.m.

Visit the Princess Theatre website for more information.

For the past 31/2 years the Valley Theater Company has managed the theater and used it for its productions and movies, while also renting it out for dance performances, concerts, wedding and banquets. A church holds services in the theater on Sundays.

The Princess’s dowry was paid for by a mixture of community donations and a matching grant from the Whitehead Foundation, another Prosser nonprofit.

Theater officials bought the venue from Mercer Canyons, the Prosser area family farming enterprise that renovated the building in 2007 and waited for the suitors without putting it on the market.

“It’s very much a gift from the Mercers,” Andrews said.

Earlier nonprofit groups attempted to renovate the theater but failed, at one point defaulting on a federal loan.

Andrews also expressed gratitude for the 200 donors who contributed anywhere from $10 to $15,000.

The troupe has wanted a home before the Princess. The 52-year-old theater company spent most of its history bouncing from venue to venue, often jockeying with community meetings, speakers, concerts and high school plays for time in a venue.

Paul Brooks, the company’s president, likened it to the Israelites wandering the desert in the Old Testament.

“Moses only wandered for 40 years, we did it for 52,” he said.

Theater officials said they continue to need donations for more improvements and volunteers for productions, maintenance and selling popcorn. Film festivals, high school theater festivals and dressing rooms are among their dreams.

And they believe they can achieve them, said Brooks, who directed “Man of La Mancha” last year.

“I’m not chasing windmills anymore, although people still think I’m crazy,” he said.

• Ross Courtney can be reached at 509-930-8798 or rcourtney@yakimaherald.com.