OF THE STRAND THEATER
The Strand Theater
was constructed and managed by Gioachino and
Rosalia Sapienza in 1914. Gioachino and
Rosalia were Italian immigrants seeking a new life and
new opportunity in America and Zelienople. In
order to blend in with their adopted community, they
became known to friends and neighbors as Joseph and
Rosalie. Joseph originally wanted to build a
fruit market, but the local banker convinced him that
the town really needed a theater. So two-thirds
of the structure was dedicated to The Strand, and the
remaining third was Sapienza's Fruit
Market. The Strand featured silent films with
live piano accompaniment as well as Vaudeville-style
shows on its small stage.
In 1939, The Strand
underwent its first major renovation and the structure
was dedicated entirely to the theater, albeit with a
nearly exclusive focus on the motion picture
medium. Joseph moved his fruit market across the
street into what is now 'The Silversmith Shoppe' and a
tax preparation office. But the 'Sapienza' name
is still emblazoned across the top of the building's
The Strand thrived as a
social center for Zelienople and Harmony for decades,
providing a destination for families to escape the
drudgery and routine of rural life and to meet and enjoy a night's entertainment.
But The Strand
began to struggle when multiplex cinemas began dotting
the suburban landscape. The theater became more of a drop-off
point for parents to leave their kids for an afternoon
But with increased
pressure from the onset of the Multi-Plex and VCR era,
The Strand could no longer compete. One night In the
early 1980's, The Strand closed its doors and they
have not been open to the public since..................................until
There have been a
variety of suitors for The Strand over the years.
Developers and private investors considered making use
of the building for everything from a mini-mall to a
dance school to a dinner theater. As recently as Fall,
2000, the FBI considered The Strand for use as a field office.
However, the extensive cost of buying and renovating
the building has kept potential developers away.
ABOUT THE STRAND
The Strand Theater
Initiative was created in 2001 as a non-profit
corporation to save the venerable old theater from the
wrecking ball, with the
goal of reviving The Strand as a cultural, education and community outreach center.
Through private and public financial support, The
Initiative purchased The Strand in 2002 and completed
an exterior renovation in January, 2005.
The Initiative has raised over $2 million toward itís
capital campaign and major renovations to the
theaterís decayed interior have been ongoing since
The first phase of construction is now complete and we hope that you are pleased with the result:
a versatile structure, capable of presenting
classic and independent films, as well as a variety of
live programs. After nearly 25 years of decay and
neglect, The Strand once again welcomes the public
through its doors.
More help is needed, however, in order to move on to the
next phase of construction; the creation of a
state-of-the-art facility, capable of presenting
full-scale, theatrical productions in the North
Pittsburgh region. We seek civic-minded individuals,
corporations and philanthropists, willing to help us
with donations and networking.
Additional foundation and other funds are under
consideration. With your contributions, you
demonstrate to these groups that The Strand enjoys the
continued support of the communities that it serves.
Please contact us to get involved. We
offer a variety of tax-deductible
corporate sponsorships and individual patronage geared to fit any budget.
Customized honorariums are also available.
We welcome you to the all-new Strand and
wish you a very pleasant experience!