EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – The Victory Theatre celebrated it’s 100th birthday on Friday!
The Victory Theatre first opened its doors at noon on July 16, 1921 for a 1 p.m. showing of “Wedding Bells,” followed by a short comedy and four vaudeville acts. More than 20,000 people were said to have gone to the theatre during its opening weekend.
Kelley Coures, executive director of the department of metropolitan development, said it’s become a place with a ton of history.
“When sound came in 1928 it was one of the first theatres to have talkies,” Coures said.
Movies, shows, and musical performances- including the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, have taken the stage since. Coures even said he and other locals knew the theatre in the disco era, when it had briefly transformed into a popular nightclub.
“It really went through a lot of different stages in life and has meant a lot of memories to a lot of different people in a lot of different ways. I’m glad the city went back twenty-some years ago to bring it back to what it should be- a beautiful performing arts center for the city,” said Victory Theatre Executive Director, Scott Schoenike.
Schoenike said renovations to restore the theatre to its original form took place in the 90s. He said they’ve had plans in place for a marquee outside.
“The original one was neon. Obviously we’re not going to be doing neon, we’ll be doing LED which expands what we can do in the lighting and the look which is going to tremendously change that corner and the way it looks,” Schoenike said.
Schoenike said they have hopes to see it up this fall sometime. City officials said this piece of history is something they hope lives on in future generations.
“We’re celebrating the ability of public and private partnerships to restore this building and the future of culture in Evansville,” Coures said.
Doors will open at noon like they did 100 years ago.