Scenes from the Throckmorton Theatre’s “Tours & Tales” experience.


When you step inside the Throckmorton Theatre for its new “Tours & Tales” adventure – and yes, we’re skipping over the part where you ponder the possibility, because it is an absolutely spectacular must-do – it’s important to take a beat before you dive in. Once you start, you’ll be enveloped by a kaleidoscope of colors, artifacts, legendary performances and reminders that this space at 142 Throckmorton Ave. has been a platform for everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Robin Williams, and hundreds of brilliant minds in between.

In the years after longtime Mill Valley resident Lucy Mercer bought the former Hub Theatre in 1999, undid many years of neglect and turned it into the Throckmorton, she often recounted the fact that residents in the early 1900s walked down the hill from their homes on unpaved roads with candles to see a show at theatre, and would then trudge back to their homes with their candles. “You know, everybody wants that gathering together. Everybody wants that experience in a dark theater and then you go back and live your lives.”

As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we can’t quite do that yet – the gathering in large groups to bask in the arts. But you can now tour this legendary space and be treated to a breathtaking reminder of where it’s been and where it’s going, from its origin as a silent movie theater and the debut of the Mill Valley Festival to the breathtaking sound tapestry from a new youth production of The Little Mermaid.


Posters from the Throckmorton Theatre green room.
Mercer, along with legendary local set designer Steve Coleman and co-tour creators Mary Dilts and Bruce Tremayne and support from many more, has created an experience that lays out the creative history of the space, leads you through an overwhelming amount of visual and aural achievement, swings by the green room where so many legends hung out before jumping onstage and then drops you into the main performance space for a doozy of a three-part finale.

Dilts says the project was a labor of love, not only among the staff and board but also from longtime fans of the space who gave their time and talent to make it happen, including acclaimed firms like LightSwitch in San Francisco.

“Being in the midst of Lucy and Mercer envisioning and creating this has been amazing,” Dilts says. “She’s created such an incredible multi-use and multi-medium space. I can’t wait for people to see it.”

Check out this “Tours & Tales” Teaser:

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