Built at the turn of the century, the Empire Theatre was opened in 1906 and was showing movies in the 1920’s. It was renamed Pix Theatre in 1940, operated by Standard Theaters Management Corp. It was Waukesha’s first second-run house, in addition to the first-run Avon Theatre and Park Theatre.
Designed by architect Albert Keymar in Art Moderne style, the Pix Theatre featured a facade of cream and green colored tile panels, with stainless steel highlights. A pylon tower with the theater’s name on it and a plain marquee also were part of the exterior’s design. Inside the theatre, the auditorium featured relatively little decoration.
The Pix Theatre was donated to Waukesha Civic Theatre by Bryce and Anne Styza and a capitol campaign began in 1998-1999 to raise funs to renovate, restore and add to the building, making it a performing arts venue. It became the home to the Waukesha Civic Theatre in 1999.