Venerated “Indiana Theater” returns for an encore
restored community landmark opens for business
Special “Hollywood-style” event to help raise funds for historical preservation, Indiana basketball legend Bobby Plump provides reception gifts
WASHINGTON (Indiana) – Reflecting the growing economic revitalization of the region, the long-venerated and now fully restored Indiana Theater will open for business with a special airing of “Hoosiers” Nov. 6. “Thousands of people from Washington, Daviess County and the region have fond memories of the Indiana Theater, and we’re proud to see it re-open in a fully updated and restored condition,” said Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Foundation (DCEDF).
The historic theater restoration and reopening marks another advancement in the City of Washington’s Master Plan to revitalize its downtown district. The city’s Main Street has already been restored with repaved streets, new sidewalks, contemporary light posts, and restored building facades on many of the historic buildings lining the street, according to Arnold. The city is now looking at the possibility at creating new medical and office space in the downtown area, which will continue to increase the attractiveness of the area. Arnold noted that the re-opening of the theater with state-of-the-art digital projection equipment and new seating was key, as it helps improve the quality of life for residents and families in the region.
The restored theater will re-open with a special black-tie and Hollywood-style “razz-a-ma-tazz” on Nov. 6. Starting at 6 p.m., the red carpet event will feature paparazzi-style photos, a reception and a special presentation of the movie “Hoosiers,” touted by the New York Times, the Chicago Sun-Times and other media as “one of best sports movie ever made.” Indiana basketball legend Bobby Plump, whose last-second winning shot helped inspire the “Hoosiers” movie,” met with Natalie Smith of the foundation and provided autographed Blu-Ray DVDs and posters from the movie to use in the opening night.
A total of 525 combined seats are available for the event. When open, the Indiana Theater will show current movies in its main floor theater (330 seats) and a smaller upstairs facility (195 seats) with state-of-the-art digital video projection capacity.
“This is a great opportunity to both bring together a whole generation from the 1950-1960s who enjoyed the fabled Saturday matinees and introduce the tradition of a high-quality movie experience to an entirely new audience,” said Arnold. The Nov. evening event will include a special “reprise” of the Saturday morning matinee “talent contest,” once a favorite of young audiences.
A special video presentation highlighting the history of the Indiana Theater and its impact on the community and region will be shown together with a few surprises during the evening, including a presentation by Washington Mayor Joe Wellman.
Tickets for the event are $30 each and can be purchased online at the Indiana Theater-Washington Indiana Facebook or the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation Facebook pages or at the offices of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation in Washington. Funds raised by the premier red carpet event will be used to continue restoration of the exterior of the historic theater, Arnold said.
The economic development foundation supported the restoration and reopening effort by developer Brent Barnhart of the Terre Haute-based KJB Theaters by helping to conduct a fund-raising campaign for façade renewal and general repairs, and other aid. “We are confident that Brent and his group will do very well in Washington and are appreciative of their commitment,” Arnold said.