|Frequently Asked Questions - Holly
Q: The Holly looks wonderful from the outside. What’s been done? What is left to do?
A: Thanks in large part to funding from the Medford Urban Renewal Agency, the Holly’s exterior was returned to its opening day luster. The original blade sign and marquee were recreated and returned to their places of honor and the building was made structurally sound. On April 21, 2012, the Holly held a grand relighting ceremony and turned on the marquee and sign for the first time since its removal decades ago.
While the inside is currently not as gleaming as the restored façade, we know from experience that the Holly can again be the productive jewel of downtown it once was. Based on our experience restoring the Cascade Theatre in Redding, we believe the Holly is capable of being beautifully restored and adapted for contemporary use. The Cascade Theatre was boarded up when we took over the building in 1999. It had water damage, pigeons living in the attic, no working plumbing or restrooms, walls that divided the auditorium into 4 small movie theaters that had to be demolished and a monstrous antiquated oil filled boiler in the basement that had to be cut up and removed through a hole we cut in the roof. Since the Holly has none of these issues, in some ways it will be an easier project than the Cascade.
As in any project involving an old structure, there will undoubtedly be a few surprises along the way, but we are confident the end result will be a truly unique restored facility that connects the community to its past while creating new cultural opportunities for the future.
Q: Will the Holly have good acoustic qualities?
A: Historic theatres tend to have positive acoustic characteristics. New York’s Carnegie Hall is a great example of a fine, old auditorium with outstanding acoustics that modern architects have sought to emulate. The Holly’s design is very favorable acoustically. Built with one long rake (as opposed to having a second floor balcony), no audience member would be seated in the acoustic shadow of an overhanging balcony. Additionally, the wall coverings in the auditorium need to be replaced and, while Jefferson Live! is committed to replacing them with material which visually recreates the original walls, these new surfaces would be constructed to make the hall “tunable” so that it could be acoustically optimized for different types of performances.
Q: What is Jefferson Public Radio's involvement in the project?
A: Jefferson Public Radio (JPR) does not have a direct connection to the Holly Theatre. When the restoration is completed JPR anticipates that it will collaborate with Jefferson Live! to present emerging musicians and public radio live events through a programming partnership agreement.
Q: Is Medford capable of supporting multiple performing arts venues? Will the Holly duplicate other area offerings?
A: It isn’t unusual for communities of Medford’s size to be home to more than one performing arts venue. Generally, each venue tends to specialize in certain types of entertainment which are best suited to their facility and mission -- which is the reason Jefferson Live! has designed a vision for the Holly which is distinctive from that of other existing venues.
Examples of other communities similar in size to Jackson County (population 203,206) near the Rogue Valley in which multiple performance venues operate are numerous. Here are two examples:
► In Humboldt County (population 134,623) the 862-seat Van Duzer Theater in Arcata, the 770-seat Arkley Center for the Performing Arts and the 866-seat art deco Eureka Theater (both in Eureka) all serve the county.
► In Shasta County (population 177,223) our 1,000-seat Cascade Theatre operates in addition to the 2,000-seat Redding Convention Center, the 1,050-seat David Marr Auditorium and the 598-seat McLaughlin Auditorium.
Marketek’s 2010 Medford Retail Analysis & Business Development Plan noted “Supportable demand for additional downtown entertainment venue space equals more than twice the existing entertainment space in downtown Medford.”
Jefferson Live!’s plans for the Holly have been specifically developed to avoid duplication and establish types of events not already offered in the Rogue Valley. The Holly Theatre will focus on presenting singer/songwriters and major concert artists–a mix which has made our Cascade Theatre, in Redding, extremely successful. Typically, only 2 or 3 acts which appear annually at the Cascade also appear in Jackson County so “duplication” would be minimal. In recent years, artists such as Merle Haggard, Robert Cray, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jo Dee Messina, Bruce Hornsby, Joan Osborne, and Clint Black have all performed in Redding at the Cascade Theatre but did not perform in Medford. The Holly will also present film (as does the Cascade) as well as HD theatrical performances (like the San Francisco Opera HD Grand Opera Series), which are types of events that have never been presented in Medford. In recent years, theatrical HD presentations associated with several public radio programs, like This American Life and A Prairie Home Companion, have been made available to public radio stations. Through a programming partnership agreement with Jefferson Public Radio, these kinds of events as well as concerts by emerging artists and some national public radio shows like E-Town and Mountain Stage, which travel to NPR member station communities, would be available to our patrons. Because the events anticipated for the Holly differ so significantly from the events of other Rogue Valley venues, the audience that the Holly attracts would be additive and not come at the expense of any other facility or organization.