The Campus Theatre, located in Lewisburg, PA, is nestled in the picturesque Susquehanna River Valley and opened its doors on January 17, 1941 just 11 months shy of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Designed by architect David Supowitz, and built by the Stiefel Brothers, the Campus Theatre is one of the last of dwindling number of single screen art deco movie palaces in the country.
The theatre builders, the Stiefel Brothers, contributed significantly to American Theatre history in general, but most importantly, shaped the destiny of The Campus Theatre in particular.
Oscar, Harold, Barney, and Morris Stiefel emigrated from Russia to the United States in the 1920s. Oscar began operation of one movie theatre in Philadelphia and from there the business grew. In time his three brothers and several nephews joined him in building a small showmen’s empire. The Stiefels eventually ran eleven Pennsylvania theatres.
In 1953, Morris’s son, Harold Stiefel, took over management of The Campus Theatre when his Uncle Barney retired. Harold, and his wife Jacquie managed the theatre until Harold’s death in 1988 and became iconic with their dedication to the community. Under their management, The Campus Theatre became much more than just a movie palace, it became a place where memories were made; where tears were shed and where laughter roared.
Harold and Jacquie Stiefel started and maintained many of the community outreach programs which continue to this day. After Harold’s death, Jacquie Stiefel devoted her time and energy not only to continuing a family legacy, but also to keeping a piece of bygone Lewisburg alive.
In the summer of 2001, Jacquie Stiefel sold The Campus to a Bucknell University film professor who in turn, started a non-profit organization – The Campus Theatre, Ltd. The Campus Theatre, Ltd. was eventually able to purchase the building, with assistance from Bucknell University, in 2006.
In January, 2011, Bucknell University and the Campus Theatre, Ltd. expanded their partnership to secure the future of the historic landmark on Lewisburg’s Market Street. The goal of this partnership – to ensure the continued vitality of this rare community asset for generations to come.
The Campus Theatre, Ltd. is committed to offering diverse film programming with a healthy balance of popular, fine art and independent films and entertainment that are culturally relevant and bring understanding to contemporary concerns.
Single screen, art deco theatres like the Campus Theatre are disappearing at an alarming rate. Once gone, they traditionally are gone for good. Come and experience the magic and uniqueness of the Campus Theatre – there’s no other place like it and it’s waiting for you in downtown Lewisburg.