Proposed Crawford Theater Renovation Project

The Emerson’s Crawford Theater has been in continual use since it was built in 1918. As time and resources have allowed, major and minor upgrades have been completed helping ensure the theater is a fully equipped, vital asset to our community. While the Emerson staff continually maintains and cares for the building, years of traffic and use have reached a point where the day-to-day wear and tear require more intensive repairs, technological/electrical updates, and capital investment.

Last year, we replaced several large sections of roof covering the theater. Now those repairs are complete, any work done in the theater would be protected, we can now turn our attention to the theater’s interior needs.

Project Objectives:

1. Repairs and maintenance for walls and ceiling: The walls bear scuffs and dings, the interior ceiling has water stains and several tiles need to be repaired/replaced. Both the wall and ceiling need a coat of fresh paint. This portion of the project requires the extensive use of scaffolding.

2. Updating wiring, adding 3-phase electrical capacity, and installing LED lighting:The Theater’s historic lead glass light fixtures need updated wiring. Though the Emerson is able to meet nearly all the technical needs for incoming acts, larger productions require the use of outside generators to provide adequate power. The addition of 3-phase electrical would eliminate the need for outside generators making large productions more cost effective while reducing noise and exhaust in the neighborhood. By installing LED lighting, the theater will become more energy efficient.

3. Installing architectural features reminiscent of the theater’s original windows and shutters: Historically, the Crawford Theater featured large windows that filled the auditorium with ambient light. When the theater needed to be darkened, large wooden shutters were closed. The construction of the proposed architectural features, we will honor our building’s heritage while heightening guest experiences.


The Crawford Theater with its comfortable seats, quality technology and exceptional stage rigging is one of the most popular event venues in Bozeman. The proposed improvements will ensure the theater serves as a top-notch facility for the 177+ events that take place within its walls annually. Situated in Downtown Bozeman, the Emerson is within easy walking distance of countless restaurants, bars, coffee shops, stores, and new hotels. The planned maintenance and improvements to the Crawford Theater will make the venue more desirable for a wider variety of events and larger touring acts. Guests attending these events will also patronize Bozeman’s neighboring eateries and shops, adding revenue and vitality to our community.

Funding for the Project:

Funds for this project are being raised through Emerson fundraising events, private donations, and grant applications. Thus far, we have raised $45,000 of the $200,000 budget. We will be working with local contractors and vendors as much as possible for this project. This project is anticipated to take 6-8 weeks to complete. Our original project start date was set for mid-summer of 2021. At this time, with the global shift in priorities, we do not have an anticipated start date. We will continue to raise funds for the project as we can. When the funds are secured, we will schedule the time to commence work.

Environmental Review Checklist