Who We Are
Lake Theatre is a Clear Lake family tradition.
To the residents of Clear Lake, Lake Theatre is the home to many firsts. From the first time seeing a movie on the big screen to the first kiss, these are memories that last a lifetime. Many generations have passed through these doors along with many blockbuster hits. To be able to still find a historic one screen theatre these days is rare, let along the charm of Lake Theatre that keeps customers coming back for more. It may also help that they are a great value and have some of the best movie theatre popcorn!
Originally the Lake Theatre was home to the Clear Lake Opera House. Built in 1890 by John Halvorson and S.J. Clausen, you can still see evidence of the opera house written at the top of the building. In 1935, the opera house was destroyed by fire. The building was renovated a year later into a movie theater and has been open and running ever since.
Betty and Gene Sherman, with help from their sons John and Bob, owned and operated Lake Theatre from 1976 to 2016. When Bob was in high school he was a projectionist at the theatre. After hearing rumors that the owners planned to sell the theatre, he ran home to ask his parents if they would buy it. After telling him no, they went down to Des Moines and came back as new owners of the theatre. 40 years later, you could still find Betty in the ticket booth right up to the day the theatre was sold. The Shermans are still very much a part of the theatre and will be for years to come.
Aaron Donaldson and Erin Schieffer purchased the Lake Theatre in April 2016. Aaron, being a Clear Lake resident, had been looking for ways to become more involved in the community he had made his home. After hearing that the theatre would soon be on the market from his realtor, he made sure that he was one of the first people to see it. Knowing its location and coolness factor, he knew that it wouldn’t stay on the market long. After a day of thinking it over, he convinced a then weary Erin that this was something that they could have fun doing together. Since then, Aaron and Erin have strived to maintain the legacy that the Lake Theatre provides the community of Clear Lake while continue to make improvements to the theatre and building so that the younger generation still wants to make their movie going memories at the theatre with that small town charm.