In a small town with one of the highest poverty levels in Virginia, Galax has always been known for its rich arts. When many people hear Galax, Va they can only think about the Ole Fiddlers Convention which will be in its eighty forth year next August. Just five years after the Fiddlers Convention started Galax saw how as a community the impacts of the arts and opened up the Rex Theatre. Even to this day the Rex Theatre still holds a very important role in Galax.
The Rex Theatre was opened in nineteen thirty-nine. It is currently located right off Main Street in what the city has labeled the Historic Downtown. The theatre has worn many hats over the years, but was mainly used as a theatre. It stayed open for forty-four year and then they decided to close its doors for a decade. The Galax Downtown Merchants Association recognized the historical prowess and historical value the Rex Theatre held and purchased the building in nineteen ninety-three. That was the first key step to rejuvenating and creating the Historical Downtown area. Being part of the crooked road campaign that highlights all of SWVA’s historical landmarks this is a destination that people seem to not miss. The idea was to create a sense of community with this theatre. It held so many good memories for so many people especially in a place of such low wages it gave people somewhere they could go for cheap entertainment. In nineteen thirty-three they spent large amounts of time repairing and renovating the old theatre. They had planned on keeping it the same for nostalgia in hopes to capture its historical importance. Nevertheless after a year it closed its doors yet again after only being home to bluegrass jams.
Finally in nineteen ninety-nine the City of Galax Tourism Department and Downtown Association decided to work with the local radio station most notably known for their bluegrass hosted a weekly show from the historical Rex Theatre. The show is called Blue Ridge Backroads Live and is recorded on the stage inside the Rex Theatre. The City of Galax eventually purchased the Rex Theatre in two thousand and five and is thriving to this day. Still to this day it plays hosts to the Blue Ridge Backroads Live show and a host of many other programs.
Being the only movie theatre in the twin county area until the early two-thousands it really captured all of the three surrounding counties film desires. My father has told me stories from him watching the very first Star Wars movie A New Hope and just this year we watched Rocky Horror Picture Show there. The City of Galax identified how important it is and was to have this piece of art still part of the community. The City of Galax has put a large emphasis into its tourism and Downtown area. With thousands of new people coming every year to the Fiddlers convention it allows them to do more with the Theatre to keep it involved in the community. With the Theatre now in the possession of the City of Galax there isn’t any doubt that the Rex is here to stay for a long time.
The Rex Theater. “The Rex Theater.” The Rex Theater, rextheatergalax.com/
“The Rex Theater.” Visit Galax VA, www.visitgalax.com/project/the-rex-theater