The Grand Theatre Foundation produces quality community theatre, educational outreach programs and cooperative partnerships to enrich the community through the performing arts and humanities. Originally the Grand Theatre was part of South High School opened in the fall of 1931 and served the community until its closure in 1988. Salt Lake Community College purchased the property from the Salt Lake School District a year later with the intention of using it as a city campus. After another year of renovation, portions of the building were opened as the SLCC South City Campus, retaining part of its former name in recognition of the school’s history. During the renovation, Pat Davis, an employee of SLCC and formerly the Executive Director of Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City, was brought to the school’s old auditorium. “What a grand theater!” she exclaimed, and the name stuck. The first Grand Theatre performance was “Promised Valley” and was held in the football stadium in 1989, but the first "official" production held in the Grand Theatre auditorium was Camelot featuring Robert Peterson.
As the Sundance Film Festival became more and more popular, so did a need in the Salt Lake Valley for a large venue, the Grand Theatre was a perfect fit. It’s first year was in 2015. Salt Lake Community College and Sundance Institute have partnered to bring independent filmmaking to more theater goers as the festival grows in popularity. The Grand Theatre is currently the festival’s second largest venue (the largest in the Salt Lake Valley), with a seating capacity of more than 1,100. Movies are shown at the Grand on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for two weekends during the festival, with plenty of free parking on site at South City Campus. The theatre hosts movies that make their world premieres in the Grand, with introductions and riveting Q&A sessions that bring movie stars, directors and celebrities to the stage. Previous years have brought filmmakers and stars like former Vice President Al Gore, Viggo Mortensen, and Daniel Radcliffe to the Grand Theatre stage. The atmosphere for each premiere, as you can imagine, is exciting and electric.