Staff Report

The Solvang Theaterfest has received a $150,000 donation from the Hans Skytt Family Charitable Unitrust. The contribution is designated for Theaterfest’s campaign, “IMAGINE! Building the Future – The $4.7 Million Capital Campaign for Solvang Festival Theater.”

Ed and Rachel Skytt selected to name the theater’s control booth in memory of their father, Hans.

“We are honored by the generosity of the Skytt family,” said Carol Anders, Solvang Theaterfest Board member. “Their legacy and longtime commitment to our valley will now be an integral part of our refurbished theater.”

Hans F. Skytt was born June 18, 1920, in Solvang , the youngest child of Hans C.D. Skytt and Betty R. Skytt. He grew up in Solvang, where his father, a Danish trained carpenter, was an integral part of the town’s origins. The first building constructed in Solvang, a hotel to house new arrivals, was actually built by Hans C.D. Skytt in 1911.

In 1940, Hans F. Skytt joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and spent the duration of World War II in the Air Transport Command. During this time, he met his future wife Kathryn C. Sweetser in Kansas City, Missouri. The two were married in Norton, Kansas, after his discharge at the end of the war.

They returned to Solvang where Hans joined his father and brother Evald in the family business, the Solvang Mill and Lumber Yard. He pursued other commercial ventures including the development of the Royal Copenhagen Motel.

Hans F. Skytt was proud of his Danish heritage and was a supporter of the continued maintenance of the city of Solvang’s Danish atmosphere. For example, the giant clock at Mission Drive and Atterdag Road was restored by Hans himself.

At age 92, Hans Skytt passed away peacefully in his sleep on Jan. 26, 2013, on what would have been his 67th wedding anniversary.

After decades of enjoyment, the Solvang Festival Theater now requires a renewed investment from the community to sustain its legacy as a cultural and community anchor. The capital campaign has reached 53 percent of the $4.7 million goal.

The project will strengthen and modernize the theater, address aging infrastructure, and improve accessibility, technical capability and audience amenities. The construction project is slated to start in fall 2021.

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