Rayne Social Club Existing Space

Joy Theater, Rayne, LA

Existing structure


This historic Joy Theater opened in Rayne, Louisiana on November 16, 1946 and remained in operation through the mid-1970s. By 1974, the Joy Theater became financially insolvent and was converted to other uses by another business owner. The underutilized Joy Theater is prime real estate located along the Old Spanish Trail Highway across from the Depot Square and in the heart of downtown. Although the Joy Theater has been the subject of local controversy for several years, the City of Rayne has an opportunity to capitalize on this piece of property and bring it back to life for generations to come. Since the Acadia Parish Arts Council was forced to move from their building in Crowley due to structural and environmental concerns, the Joy Theater should serve as the Arts Council’s new facility. While the Arts Council will continue to serve the entire parish, the Joy Theater will provide the Arts Council with office space, a multi-use theater venue, classrooms and conference rooms, art gallery with artist-in-residence, and a contemporary concession stand.

Theater Seats

Workspace types

Other than nearby Crowley, Rayne residents interested in seeing a movie in-theater must travel at least 30 minutes to Lafayette. Once a regionally recognized institution, the Joy Theater should be restored to its former glory and feature a refurbished movie theater that can be transformed into an event space for live music performances, theatrical plays and comedy shows, among other events. Restoring a historic theater or performance space can positively influence a community’s quality of life and spur economic (re)development in the downtown area. The Joy Theater is especially well-positioned to breathe new life into downtown Rayne.

New programming can include:

  • Independent films
  • Second run films
  • Cult classics
  • Family films
  • Live music performances
  • Comedy shows
  • Birthday parties

Contemporary Concession Stand

Concession stands and the movie theater experience are closely linked nowadays, and often determine the success of both indoor and outdoor movie theaters. With so many competing forces, the typical concessions – popcorn, candy, soft drinks – are not enough to grab the younger generation’s attention. One solution is to lure customers of all ages with better food and transform the traditional concession visit to something more upscale. The Joy Theater’s contemporary concession stand will also serve as a revenue-generator for the Acadia Parish Arts Council to manage the building and offer new programming.

New concessions can include:

  • Beer, Wine, and Liquor
  • Loaded Nachos
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Salted Pretzels
  • Sliders
  • Charcuterie Plates
  • Gourmet Popcorn

Classrooms and Conference Rooms

The Joy Theater is a large building and should be redeveloped as a multi-faceted cultural center including at least four classrooms and two conference rooms. The classrooms should be designed for flexible programming for all ages and interests, and the conference rooms should be available for rent for meetings, small conferences and workforce training, among other uses. The Acadia Parish Arts Council should work with the Acadia Parish School Board, non-profit organizations, and the faith-based community to provide educational and cultural programming held after school, on weekends, and during the school breaks (e.g. summer camp). Additionally, these classrooms should also host adult-specific programming such as Microsoft Office 101, personal finance budgeting, and yoga.

English as a 2nd Language ACT Prep Photography Waltz Art
French GED Prep Piano lessons Cajun dance Theater
Microsoft Office 101 Coding 101 Painting 101 Swing Music
Personal Finance Spanish Ceramics Yoga Science
Acting Workshop SAT Prep Pilates
Artist in Residence

Art Gallery with Artist-in-Residence Program

The Joy Theater should have an art gallery to host works of art from local, regional, and international artists. Acadia Parish and the Acadiana region is home to artists of every discipline. Not only will this gallery provide low cost space for artists to sell their work, but it will also provide more educational opportunities for children and adults alike because the Joy Theater will also be home to a new artist-in-residence every 6-12 months. To establish an artist residency program, the Acadia Parish Arts Council should recruit an artist from any discipline and provide them with free living quarters and a monthly stipend of $500. In exchange, the artist will teach classes in the space and create a public piece of art – whatever their discipline – alongside community members. This piece of art will be displayed or performed at the conclusion of their residency for the community at-large. To promote this opportunity, the Acadia Parish Arts Council should work with organizations such as Alliance of Artist Communities to solicit and accept applications from artists around the world.

Rayne Before and After

Joy Theater in Rayne, LA

The existing space

Rayne Social Club

Theater, art gallery, artist-in-residence

Budget snapshot

Item Amount
Purchase of building 350,000.00
Elevator (2 stories) 65,000.00
Theater Buildout 750,000.00
Conference Rooms/Classrooms 800,000.00
Office Space Buildout 400,000.00
Full Bar (with kitchen) Buildout 250,000.00
Gallery + Artist Studio Apartment 140,000.00
Year 1 Operational Budget 393,336.50
Contingency 157,416.83
TOTAL 3,305,753.33

The full Pro Forma can be found in Appendix C.

Source Amount
Historic Tax Credits – State 561,978.07
Historic Tax Credits – Federal 561,978.07
Joy Theater Naming 1,000,000.00
Gallery Naming 150,000.00
Classroom Naming 75,000.00
Classroom Naming 75,000.00
Conference Room Naming 60,000.00
Bar Naming 50,000.00
3 pledges of $50,000 150,000.00
10 pledges of $10,000 – 25,000 175,000.00
10 pledges of $1,000 10,000.00
100 pledges of $100 10,000.00
City of Rayne 50,000.00
Acadia Parish Police Jury 35,000.00
Federal Grants/Loans 375,000.00
TOTAL 3,338,956.13

Action Steps

Rayne Timeline
Create board of directors


Create Board of Directors and write bylaws


Recommended Executive Director (see step 2), existing BOD, and steering committee members


Officially incorporate the Rayne Social Club as a program of the Acadia Parish Arts Council and write new bylaws reflecting the program and the powers of the board and staff. Elect a board of directors. Elect officers


Q2 2019

Hire executive director


Hire Desiree Doucet as Executive Director


Board of Directors


Desiree has proven herself to be a passionate champion of the Acadia Parish Arts Council and has been actively engaged in this planning process from the beginning. She has extensive experience in various artistic disciplines, management, and fundraising and will be instrumental in executing this action plan. Additionally, she is willing to get to work right away regardless of pay structure being in place


Q2 2019

Establish capital campaign committee


Establish Capital Campaign Committee (CCC) and develop fundraising strategy


McClure – Phase II or Acadia Parish Arts Council and Rayne subcommittee (in collaboration with other communities’ CCCs)


Identify community leaders/project champions to assist with fundraising efforts, create funding roadmap, and launch silent capital campaign


Q3 2019

Launch capital campaign


Launch public capital campaign to support buildout and initial operations of the Joy Theater


McClure – Phase II or CCC


Update funding roadmap, determine viable resources, and secure necessary capital


Q1 2020

Acquire Joy Theater


Acquire the Joy Theater


Board of Directors and CCC


Negotiate with the current owner to determine owner/operator options and buy or lease building for a nominal cost


Q3 2020