In the 1920’s America experienced a building boom of “movie palaces.” The “Portola Theater” opened in August 1926 and was billed as one of the most up-to-date motion picture theaters in the State of New Mexico, offering comfortable seating and modern organ music with a large stage. In 1929, the “Portola Theater” became the “Palace Theater.” With the on-set of the Great Depression in 1929, there was a severe decline in theater attendance across the nation and unfortunately the “Palace Theater” became a statistic and closed its doors.
In 1932, the “Palace Theater” was purchased, reopened and renamed “The Portola.” Later that year the theater was renovated and given a new name “The Yam,” taking its name from the major agricultural crop produced in Roosevelt County at the time, sweet potatoes. It remained a working theater and retained the name “The Yam” until circa 1963-1965 when it once again closed it doors.
In 2002, through a private donation from Addie Peed Swearingen, the theater was purchased by the Portales MainStreet Program. Thanks to additional donations, fundraising and many state and federal grants, the City of Portales and the Portales MainStreet Program have been able to completely renovate the theatre. Today the facility includes a meeting room, lobby, ticket booth, dressing room, bathrooms, concession area, projection booth and large multi-use theater space.
This three-building facility is available for rent and very conducive to a variety of possible community and private functions. Under the partnership of Portales MainStreet Program and City of Portales, the Yam Theatre provides an integral activity center to the downtown area. With rental availability ranging throughout the year, the mission is to build the Yam Theatre into the premiere location for community events.
120-160 Banquet Seating 200 Theatre Seating 250-280 Standing Reception
40 Banquet Seating 70 Theatre Seating 100 Standing Receptions
Rental of the Theatre Facility gives you access and use of the main room, stage, concessions area, lobby, box office, and back patio space as well as the facilities in-house tables, chairs and stage lighting.
The Yam Theatre has 20 six-foot round tables, rectangular tables, blue upholstered chairs and ample stage lighting to create various ambient lighting schemes perfect for your event.
This venue is equipped with AV to fit all your event needs from PowerPoint, to self-DJ, to showing a movie, The Yam has it all.