Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

50 Years of Cannon Beach's Coaster Theater - A Party, A Look at Oregon Coast History

Published 06/14/22 at 6:55 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

50 Years of Cannon Beach's Coaster Theater - A Party, A Look at Oregon Coast History

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that winter is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
Major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deals available; lodgings not listed anywhere else
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Get in a nostalgic mood and maybe Disco until you can't boogie no more. Consider dusting off your platform shoes, wide collar-shirts and fancy Disco dresses if you're heading to the north Oregon coast in late June. It's on June 29 that Cannon Beach's Coaster Theatre puts on a '70s party of sorts as it celebrates the theatre's 50th birthday with a day crammed full of entertainment, groovy tunes from the 1970s, a costume contest and a silent auction. (Photo courtesy Coaster Theatre: the theatre in 1969)

The open-house party runs from 2 to 5 p.m. in the theatre’s courtyard and from 6 to 9 p.m. in the theatre.

Way back in 1972, Jethro Tull put out its landmark Thick As A Brick album and Bill Withers released the anthemic single Lean On Me. In a little corner of the Oregon coast, a Portland patron of the arts named Maurie Clark purchased a somewhat dilapidated old building that had been a skating rink when it opened in the 1920s and later a silent movie house. After an extensive remodel, Cannon Beach's seminal Coaster Theatre Playhouse opened up.

The history of Coaster Theatre is well integrated into and integral to the history of Cannon Beach.

According to the Statesman Journal in 1972, remodeling work began in February. Designer-building Ray Watkins told the paper they were looking to create something the local residents would aesthetically be comfortable with, “so we're using warm, Oregon woods.”

Mission accomplished on that one. The theatre still maintains a unique look on the Oregon coast that's clearly rooted in the past, with many design elements left from over from the 1920s. Yet it also hearkens back to something much earlier, such as shades of a frontier town.

Once the theatre opened up, Portland State University Summer Stock Company became regular performers each year and other groups regularly presented concerts and performances throughout the season. The first performances were of “The Odd Couple” starting June 29, 1972, followed by “The Miracle Worker,” “The Bat” and “You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.”

During the following winter, various Cannon Beach residents along with D.K. Smith and Bill Steidel at the helm, put on the first community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This began a tradition of producing community plays and musicals throughout the year that's continued over 50 years. Generations of north Oregon coast residents and visitors have participated on and off stage at the Coaster Theatre, often creating lifelong friendships and a few marriages.

50 Years of N. Oregon Coast's Coaster Theatre Celebrated: History of Cannon Beach Landmark
Coaster Theatre just after remodel in '72

Clark passed away in 2001, and then the Coaster Theatre became a nonprofit organization, which now continues the tradition of showcasing live theater and events on its stage that bring in residents and visitors of all ages.

The Coaster Theatre is celebrating all year with a selection of shows and playwrights that are audience favorites. The theatre is also offering monthly special event concerts to celebrate this momentous anniversary. Details about the 50th birthday party, plays, musicals and special events are at

Upcoming shows and events at Coaster Theatre: Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, July 6 - Aug. 6; Auditions for Gramercy Ghost, July 25 & 26; Clue: The Musical, Aug. 10 – Sept. 10. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours



Courtesy Coaster Theatre

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Hordes of Flying Carpenter Ants Along Oregon Coast
They're the breeders of the colonies, getting blown by east winds. Sciences, south coast
Beware of Bears on Oregon Coast Due to Late Berry Crops, Say Officials
Spotting a bear on the coast may become uncomfortably easy. Sciences
Oregon Coast Aquarium Adds Some Attractions, Means for Play
Nature Play Area, Outdoor Amphitheater and a new feature called the headwaters. Newport, kids
Curtis Salgado, Blues Artist Who Inspired Belushi, Returns to Central Oregon ...
One of the Pacific Northwest's more powerful musical treasures July 15
Cool Coves on Oregon Coast at Brookings, Seaside, Yachats, Coos Bay
There's more beneath their surface, and other layers to check out. South Coast, Travel tips, sciences, kids
Reflections on - and in - the Oregon Coast: photo essay of the surreal
Most striking is that glassy surface the beach can acquire, creating a magical mirror
Explore A Distinctive Oregon Coast Ecosystem with July 1 Netarts Spit Hike Ev...
Netarts Spit: Dunes, Birds, and More happens July 1. Oceanside events
On Edge of Central and South Oregon Coast, Florence's Killer Plants, Aerial V...
Trails, horses, wilderness lakes, campgrounds, some particularly strange creatures

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on Oregon Coast Beach Connection
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted