What happened to the name of the Craterian Theater? It seems to have been replaced by the Collier Center for the Performing Arts. When did this happen?
— Ruth D., Medford
Change can sometimes be ruthlessly sudden, Ruth.
The name change happened late last August after longtime Craterian supporter James Morrison Collier of Medford gave the theater an undisclosed amount of money.
At that point, the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in downtown Medford became the Craterian Theater at The Collier Center for the Performing Arts.
The Collier Center's stage is now called the Ginger Rogers Stage. However, the theater's presenting arm, Craterian Performances Company, kept its name as did the James and Valerie Root Auditorium, which was also named for longtime supporters.
Although the amount given by Collier was never disclosed, theater officials said it was the largest single donation ever received by the theater. The previous largest amount was $200,000.
Collier, a former English teacher, is a lifelong patron of the arts. In February of 2010 he gave $300,000 to Camelot Theatre in Talent when the theater was raising money for a new venue. Camelot's new 164-seat theater was named the James Morrison Collier Theatre as a result.
The Craterian Theater was originally built in 1924 and first presented plays and vaudeville acts on its stage. It was later converted to a movie house but eventually was closed before the site was donated to the Rogue Valley Art Association and rebuilt as a performing arts theater.
Actress and singer Ginger Rogers had danced in the theater in 1926 and prior to her death in 1995 had lived in the Rogue Valley off and on since 1940.
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