Skip to main content
Enter search terms below.

Explore the History of The Smith Opera House

Oct 27th, 2022

Historic Geneva's 2022 Fall Lecture Series is on the road at historic public buildings in the city. In conjunction with the exhibition My Geneva is…Then and Now, lectures are being held in collaboration with the Geneva Public Library, The Dove Block Project, and The Smith Center for the Arts.
The final program in the series will be November 16 at 7 p.m. at The Smith Center for the Arts, 82 Seneca Street, Geneva, NY. The program will feature Karen Noonan, Chris Woodworth, and Susie Monagan.
Since its construction in 1894, The Smith Center for the Arts building has had a variety of commercial and cultural uses. Designed as an opera house, it was a Schine movie theater for many decades of the 20th century, and today functions as a theater for film, concerts, and dramatic performances. It also serves as a space for high school graduation ceremonies, lectures, and other community events.
In this program, Chris Woodworth will look back to the theater's construction and early history as a venue for musicians and traveling theatrical performers. Karen Colizzi Noonan will explore the theater's history as a Schine's Geneva movie theater in the mid-twentieth century. Susie Monagan will share the theater's current commitment to providing and sustaining diverse arts and education enrichment opportunities. The presentation will be held in the lobby of the Smith and is free and open to the public. Tours behind the scenes will be offered following the presentation.
Part theatre historian, part theatre practitioner, Chris Woodworth describes herself as an artist-scholar. Her research primarily addresses intersections between labor, suffrage, reproductive politics, and performance. She also conducts the Ghostlight Tours held at the Smith. More on her work can be found at
Karen Colizzi Noonan is a Geneva native whose passion for historic theaters began with childhood visits to the 1960s Schine’s Geneva on Seneca Street. She has been researching the Schine Circuit Theaters for many years and has served on the board of directors of the Theatre Historical Society of America. She has also worked at the Smith Opera House and Auburn’s Schine Theater.
Susie Monagan is the Executive Director of The Smith Center for the Arts. She was  previously with the Department of Theatre Arts at Ithaca College and on the Board of the State Theatre in Ithaca.
The exhibit, My Geneva is…Then and Now, pairs contemporary photos of city with images from the Historic Geneva photo collection. The exhibit will be on display through the end of the year at the Geneva History Museum, 543 South Main Street.

The lecture series is supported in part by the Samuel B. Williams fund for programs in the Humanities and is free and open to the public. For more information about this or other programs, call the Historic Geneva office at 315-789-5151 or visit
Historic Geneva, formerly the Geneva Historical Society, tells the stories of Geneva, New York at the Geneva History Museum, Rose Hill Mansion, and Johnston House, and online at

In Brief

"My Geneva is… Then and Now: The Smith Center for the Arts"
A lecture by Karen Noonan, Chris Woodworth, and Susie Monagan
November 16, 2022
The Smith Center
for the Arts
82 Seneca Street
Geneva, NY


View all News