In 1912 John F. Ratto, a Sutter Creek merchant, began construction of the two-story brick silent film theatre. Ratto built four theatres in Amador County during this period. Due to a strong Italian influence in Sutter Creek, Ratto hired architect S.F. Dal Proto to build the theatre with the traditional arches and stonework found in many Italian buildings from the 18th century.
In 1919, the theatre was near completion, but the deadly Spanish Influenza epidemic closed all of Sutter Creek’s public buildings and delayed its grand opening for almost a year. While the records have been lost, rumor has it that the theatre opened on March 5, 1920, playing D.W. Griffiths' "Hearts of the World" starring Lillian Gish. The Sutter Creek Theatre is the only surviving theatre of the original four.
Owned by Laura and Byron Damiani Jr., the Sutter Creek Theatre is a complete multipurpose entertainment venue that hosts events year-round. The theatre features concerts by award-winning artists, films, theater, civic and corporate meetings, themed celebrations (reunions/weddings), and many others.
Regularly featuring regional, national and international award winning artists, as well as film and theatre, the Sutter Creek has won "Best Independent Theatre" for the KCRA 3 "A List" for the last three years.
The theatre comfortably seats 214 people, and is renowned for its excellent acoustics and intimate layout. The theatre also houses a wine bar at 46 Main Street open on performance dates, which serves the finest local wines and select beers.
The Sutter Creek Theatre also supports local non-profit fund raising events for the Amador County Arts Council, Amador High School Drama Club, Sutter Creek Elementary School, the Amador School Arts Council, Operation CARE, and many others.