If time travel was possible outside of the movies, and we could bring the Richmonders who watched the first “talkies” to the present-day Byrd Theatre, I’m sure they would be thrilled to discover that the Byrd is stronger than ever — ready for another 90 years.
The Byrd is beloved in a way that outshines our great programing, our tasty concessions, and our amazing decorated interior. It is a community, and it encloses the collective memories of nine decades of shared experiences, with the promise of many more. I would like to thank all of you who supported the Byrd Theatre Foundation in 2017. The enhancements to our programming and facilities are only possible with your contributions. You are the true superheroes of the Byrd Theatre!
Even if you are a regular member of our audience, I think you’ll be amazed at everything that takes place in our beautiful theater. We entertain with award-winning second-run and classic movies, organ performances, curated special programs, and family films on weekend mornings. We pair films with discussions that inform and engage our audiences — sharing insights on a range of topics and social issues. We partner with, and serve, our community — hosting film festivals, concerts, tributes, celebrations, and, every now and then, a marriage proposal.
We want everyone to enjoy the Byrd! I am proud to say that the Byrd Theatre is accessible to people with disabilities for the first time since opening in 1928. We’ve installed a wheelchair accessible seating area and an ADA restroom off the lobby. These are an important step in making the Byrd welcoming to all. 2017 was a significant year at the Byrd as we began replacing seats at the theatre – a highly anticipated event.
Audiences are enjoying the more comfortable seats in the center section on the main floor, and in 2018, we will continue raising funds for the two side sections. Improvements were also made to the men’s room on the first floor with new sinks and new wall and floor tiles.
In addition to more seats, future restoration plans include renovations to the women’s room on the first floor, improvements to the concession area, the addition of hearing and visual assistive technology, and restoration of the loge or front of the balcony. We will be working with Martinez and Johnson, a leading architectural firm that focuses on historic theater restoration.
Volunteers are essential to improving the Byrd experience for our audiences. Last year, they contributed to a total of 10,500 volunteer hours spent on restoring, improving, and promoting the Byrd. We rely on the commitment of our volunteer board and committee members as well as students from James River High School who welcome people to the Byrd on Saturday mornings, handing out program flyers and serving coffee.
Our progress would not be possible without the support of our generous audiences, donors, and volunteers, and our dedicated staff and board members. We are grateful for your contributions to Virginia’s Grand Motion Picture Palace. Thank you, again, for being a part of the growing Byrd community.
I invite you read our Annual Report to learn more about our progress and plans.
President of the Board
Byrd Theatre Foundation