Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater celebrating 90 years

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:33 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Paramount Theater opened its doors in Charlottesville for the first time nearly a century ago.

“Anything that is 90 years old has quite a bit of a story with it,” Director of Communications Andy Pillifant said.

The theater has seen history from racial segregation to integration to the present day COVID-19 pandemic.

The Paramount Theater opened the night before Thanksgiving in 1931, making its 90th birthday this year.

“It opened as a movie palace, and a place where the community could come escape,” Pillifant said.

The theater closed in 1974, when financial strain fell on Charlottesville’s downtown area. “It laid dormant until 2004, when it reopened,” Pillifant said.

The reopening process began in 1992. “It started a 12 year period of repurposing and reimagining the theatre, turning it to a nonprofit,” Pillifant said.

Since the reopening, members of the board, like Lorenzo Dickerson, had a hand in that reflection.

“During this time, where we’re kind of coming out of the pandemic, just coming in the theater - the decorations, the physical style of the theater - is something that’s important to the community to uplift them,” Dickerson said.

To celebrate the last 90 years, and more to come, the Paramount Theater is featuring different movies to honor each decade since it started. The list can be found here.

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