Movie goers are flocking to Urbana’s Gloria Theatre in record numbers. According to the GrandWorks Foundation executive director, Staci Weller, last weekend’s movie “I Can Only Imagine” was enjoyed by 1,152 patrons and the average attendance per movie this year has increased by approximately 60 percent over last year.
“This movie (“I Can Only Imagine”) was so popular we decided to hold it over for another weekend,” said Weller.
The nonprofit GrandWorks Foundation began making repairs and renovations to the historic theater in 2014. In 2016, the foundation purchased a new digital projection system, installed the 40-foot large-format screen and brought family friendly movies back to Champaign County.
The theatre’s executive assistant, Teresa Beverly, is pleasantly surprised with the community’s growing support. “We expected a big turnout for it (last weekend’s movie) but they really turned out in droves and our special events have been very successful too. It’s fantastic to see so many people enjoying what all of the GrandWorks volunteers and donors are doing for this community treasure.”
The community-based nonprofit, GrandWorks Foundation, owns and operates the 114-year-old theatre. GrandWorks’ capital fundraising campaign finances the ongoing major improvements to the Gloria. Currently in stage two of the 4-stage plan, the foundation’s goal is to transform the Gloria into a state-of-the-art performing arts center, movie theatre, conference and events venue and a café lounge. Their mission is to “Use the Gloria Theatre to Reach, Restore and Revive our Community by providing a platform for social, spiritual, cultural and economic growth.” As funds become available, stage two improvements will include remodeling the restrooms, lobby and concessions area as well as adding a commercial kitchen and café lounge.
Now scheduled to run a second weekend, showtimes for the hit movie “I Can Only Imagine” are Friday at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.
For information about donating to GrandWorks and volunteer opportunities go to http://gloriatheatre.org or call the theatre at 937-653-4853.
Submitted by The GrandWorks Foundation and The Gloria Theatre.