Welcome to the Granby Theater, where memories are created. This unique and one-of-a-kind venue was constructed 100 years ago under the direction of an Italian immigrant, Mr. Feroni. Originally the theater was named The Virginian and was built for small plays, one act operas and vaudeville shows. Granby Street was “Theater Row” in those days, and each theater would sell out nightly to thousands of sharply dressed visitors.
The theater’s design included cat walks above the ceiling which provided access above the ceiling to hang props, special effects, and acrobatic equipment for live performers and those features are in use today to provide our guests with great flexibility for events. Interestingly enough, Granby Theater was one the first buildings in the south to have air conditioning and fire suppression systems. As time went by, silent films became popular, and an organist would play seated behind the latticework of gold walls to the right of the stage. “Talkies,” or modern day movies, were shown some time later- including Saturday morning matinees for the kids.
The theater eventually closed in 1986, and would not reopen its doors again to the public for nearly twenty years. When it came time to restore the theater to its former glory, the development team relied on a number of professionals. Both state and federal consultants were commissioned in conjunction with a certified historic artist to beautifully restore the theater. The historic venue was reconditioned to include modern day amenities, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and a truly unique floor plan. The artist determined that the historical colors included gold-leaf trim and chili-colored red. The proscenium was hand painted to its original luster to include the original “G” for Granby. The scalloped curtain was installed in the 30s and is one of the few remaining operable scalloped curtains of its era, but rarely lowered to preserve the fabric’s integrity. The ceiling of the theater includes most of the original medallions; a laborious historic restoration process was employed to restore the remaining distressed pieces. The four remaining chandeliers are original and any missing crystals were restrung by hand.
The facade of the theater didn’t have a marquee until “silent movies” went mainstream. Prior to motion pictures, the front of the building was more open and included Roman columns and a ticket booth. The present marquee is restored, and dates back to the 30s. Purchased in 2003, the development team completed the restoration and enhancements to Granby Theater and once again opened its doors July, 2005. Granby Theater’s Grand Opening sold out to a show featuring the world renowned jazz artist Tierney Sutton as a part of the Virginia Arts Festival. Today, Granby Theater is excited to host weddings, charity events, corporate celebrations and musical shows and our team looks forward to speaking with you about your special event.