In the last week alone, Urbana’s historic Gloria Theatre has seen more than 1,000 school students come through its doors for entertaining education.
Students from Graham, Triad, Mechanicsburg and West Liberty-Salem schools enjoyed an anti-bullying movie on the Gloria’s big screen. The movie “Wonder” is based on the critically acclaimed best-selling book. Many schools had it as required reading for their students, however, its message is really one that inspires people of all ages.
“The fact that we have such a great venue like the Gloria Theatre available for the community is wonderful and we were excited to take our students there,” said Marlo Schipfer, Mechanicsburg Middle School principal.
“The Gloria is a historic building and truly a treasure. The updates to the latest technology are fantastic, from the big screen and the sound system, to the comfortable seating,” said Chad Miller, principal of Graham Elementary. “It is a great atmosphere to take your family to and enjoy a movie.”
“We were very pleased to be able to work with area schools and coordinate private showings for this movie, in addition to our regular weekend show times,” said Staci Weller, executive director of the GrandWorks Foundation, the non-profit organization that manages the theater. “Overall, we’ve had more than 1,250 people see this movie and hearing hundreds of students applaud and cheer at the end of each showing was truly inspiring!”
In addition to the movie showings, the Gloria had more than 300 students from South Elementary visit the theater on Monday morning for the Jubilee Gang event, which was a high-energy, interactive, multi-media faith-based show. Sponsored by the River of Life Christian Center, the Jubilee Gang was back on Monday evening for a free, open-to-the-public show.
“Our mission at GrandWorks is to transform the Gloria Theatre into a platform for social, spiritual, cultural, and economic growth for Champaign, Clark and Logan counties,” said Weller. “We are reaching out to people of all ages. Last month, the Gloria hosted more than 130 senior citizens on a Thursday morning for a private, free showing of the movie Let There Be Light, sponsored by Walter & Lewis Funeral Home, who plans to do this on an ongoing basis. For sports fans, we hosted two big Buckeye Bashes where folks were able to attend for free and view OSU play Penn State in October and then Michigan in November on the big screen. We served burgers, brats, pizza and more to 360 avid Buckeye fans who appeared to have a great time.”
Upcoming this week at The Gloria Theatre is a live production of a children’s Christmas play, We Three Spies, on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and doors open at 5:30 p.m. The following afternoon, on Friday, December 15, at 4 p.m., Congressman Jim Jordan will be on stage at the Gloria talking to local area, small business owners.
No sooner does Jordan leave the stage and it’s on to the movie with Murder on the Orient Express starting Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. “Whether it’s our regular first run movies, private showings, parties, live events or concerts, the possibilities for this venue are endless,” said Weller, “especially as we continue to renovate and upgrade our facility. We also hope that our increased traffic serves as a boost to area businesses. We are excited to offer a variety of family friendly events and entertainment geared to all ages.”
For upcoming showtimes and events, to volunteer or donate, please visit GloriaTheatre.org.
Staci L. Weller is Executive Director of the GrandWorks Foundation.