Updated: Feb 17
Martinsburg’s Apollo Theatre was an early design success for Reginald Geare, in company with local architect Chapman E. Kent. It was the first theatre in the state built primarily for showing films, though the stage was large enough to accommodate live performances. After opening in 1913, the theatre underwent an expansion to provide for better live performance facilities. As constructed it had a seating capacity of 1000, and was used for movies, vaudeville and concerts. Throughout its history, the Apollo, named for the Greek god of music, has provided entertainment for citizens throughout the West Virginia panhandle.
Stories of the Apollo’s haunted reputation have circulated for decades with some of the oldest stories dating to the mid-1970s. There are no records of deaths within the theatre, though the building may have been used as a hospital during the 1918 influenza epidemic. Apparently, there are several spirits, two of which are known as Charlie and George. In 2008, a theatre board member told The Journal about his run-in with George in the early 80s. “During the curtain call I saw an old man in the back of the theatre, in a plaid shirt with a cigar. No one but me saw him and suddenly he was gone.” During the filming of Gods and Generals, a female reenactor using the restrooms at the Apollo let out a scream after encountering the same figure in the ladies’
The Apollo Theatre is operated as a community-supported facility. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It is included in the Downtown Martinsburg Historic District. It has survived 2 world wars and is going strong. It is a Martinsburg gem.
The performances are highly rated. Here's a link to the schedule of performances and events at the Apollo: Season at a Glance