“If these walls could speak, they would say they have looked over this land for a lifetime,” said Kahu Kordell Kekoa as he stood on the sprawling grassy lawn next to Diamond Head Theatre. A handful of those who are heading up the fundraising and building of the new theatre gathered on the morning of October 30, 2020 to “heal the land for construction” in anticipation of Allied Builder’s arrival of crews and equipment.
With blessed rainwater from 25 years ago, Kahu Kordell anointed the perimeter and meandered through the garden of cacti, plants and trees to bless the property. A cool Kona breeze passed through as he shared with the group: “These are the winds of change and it’s the love of all who have helped us, who stand in this circle.”
Diamond Head Theatre’s storied history began long before the theatre took up residence in the 1950s at its present location. It began as a traveling performance group called The Footlights with its first production, The Amazons in 1915.
Kordell spoke about that journey fondly, saying “from The Amazons to the amazing.”
The construction company’s blessing aimed to connect DHT’s history (which includes the existing building, erected as a WWII movie house for Ft. Ruger’s military community) to its future, a modern performing arts center amidst gardens and gathering spaces, with classes for keiki to kupuna that will serve generations to come.
Following the blessing, the construction machinery roared to life and commenced work that will continue for about 18 months as DHT builds its new theatre, in the meantime, leaving the existing facility in operation for shows.
A larger community celebration for the many generous friends who have supported this 13-year journey of a new DHT will take place once gatherings are safe and allowable according to government mandates during the pandemic.