Urbana’s historic Gloria Theatre has temporarily closed for several new improvements. According to Grandworks Foundation CEO Staci Weller, the theatre will reopen in 4 to 5 weeks, upon the completion of new handicapped accessible restrooms.
Other improvements underway include Clifford’s Railcar Café, a commercial kitchen, a new entrance vestibule, a remodeled concession area and an expansion of the stage.
“The heartwarming generosity of our hundreds of donors and volunteers, and local organizations like the Champaign County Memorial Foundation and the Grimes Foundation, have made these wonderful improvements possible. We are especially excited to announce that Clifford’s Railcar Café is coming soon,” Weller said. In tribute to Billy Single Clifford who built the theatre in 1904, the café’s ambiance will reflect Clifford’s railcar and turn of century era.
According to Weller, the new restrooms, concessions and vestibule will show the Gloria’s commitment to providing excellent comfort and enjoyment for all its patrons. The expanded stage is the first step in the theatre’s ultimate goal of becoming a state-of-the art performing arts center in addition to the existing big screen movie theatre.
The Gloria Theatre and the Urbana Youth Center are projects of the non-profit GrandWorks Foundation.
GrandWorks Board Member, Jim Lillibridge said, “I remember almost 8 years ago when we first purchased the Gloria how many people thought we could never make it work. Here we are, almost 8 years later, after weathering several challenges, and with the outpouring of support and prayers from across the community, Gloria has made her way all the way back and now has an even brighter future. This grand ol’ gal is doing her part to achieve our mission to reach, restore and revive the community.”