CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — After over a year-and-a-half, the Champaign community will once again be able to go into the historic Virginia Theatre.
Theatre Public Relations Manager Mitch Marlow said they closed the theatre in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While they did sell some concessions curbside, they have not welcomed the community inside since…until now.
The theatre will reopen for their 100th anniversary season on September 25.
Since opening on December 28,1921, the Virginia has been a landmark for both Champaign and the surrounding communities. The theatre has offered everything from vaudeville to performance theatre to live music and movies, according to the theatre’s website.
To celebrate their anniversary, the theatre will host an open house event September 25. They will have live entertainment, food trucks and a silent movie.
The silent movie, “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (1928) will start at 7 p.m.. They will also have a Chicago organist come to perform during the film which is what was done during the silent film era, according to Marlow. The organist will provide the soundtrack to the movie.
Marlow said having people able to walk through the theatre again is great. He said he has had friends and family say they did not realize how much they missed certain things until they got them back, like performances and movies.
The community will be able to get a night of entertainment as well see the “experiential place,” according to Marlow. “People just walk in and they look around and I think that there is some sense of aw. For people to come back and get back to those activities, I think it’s bigger than we might think…It’s awesome.”
The open house will start at 5 p.m.. The performances and movie are free.