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Member Spotlight: The Orpheum Theatre

Member The Orpheum Theatre Group holds an important place in both Memphis past and future. The iconic landmark stands at the corner of Main and Beale and plays a crucial role in our community's art scene. Check out the video below with Brett Batterson, the President & CEO, and scroll below for a fun Q&A.

  1. 1. Tell us about the Orpheum Theatre.
The Orpheum Theatre is a 2,300 seat historic theatre that has stood at the corner of Main and Beale Street since 1928. Throughout its history, it has hosted legendary artists, Broadway mega musicals and has been an iconic landmark of Downtown Memphis.  

  1. 2. Can you share some of the rich history of the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis?
The Grand Opera House was built on the corner of Main and Beale in 1890. The Grand became part of the Orpheum Circuit of vaudeville shows in 1907, and the theatre became known as the Orpheum. In 1923, after a show that featured singer Blossom Seeley, a fire started and the theatre burned to the ground. At a cost of $1.6 million, a new Orpheum was built at the same spot in 1928. As vaudeville's popularity waned, the Orpheum was purchased by the Malco movie theater chain in 1940 and presented first-run movies until 1976, when Malco decided to sell the building. There was even talk of demolishing the old theater. However, in 1977 the Memphis Development Foundation purchased the Orpheum and began bringing Broadway productions and concerts back to the theatre. The Orpheum was closed on Christmas in 1982 to begin a $5 million renovation to restore its 1928 opulence. Since then, there have been several major renovations to make the Orpheum a prime venue for major touring Broadway productions and to accommodate a modern audience.

  1. 3. Tell us about the variety of performances and events held at the Orpheum Theatre.
The Orpheum plays host to an annual Broadway series, comedians, concerts, community events, dance performances, an annual summer movie series, a student matinee series and more.

4. The Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education is a little over a year old. Can you share about its role in community education and egagement in the performing arts?
  1. The Halloran Centre was created to facilitate the Orpheum’s growing education and community programming. This $15 million centre includes classroom space, a rehearsal hall, dance studio, a state of the art AV lab, and a 361-seat theatre. The centre has been utilized by local organizations like Collage Dance Collective, Beale Street Caravan, Indie Memphis and more. The Centre’s modern design and  capabilities have also made it a preferred rental venue for corporate retreats, weddings, private events, holiday parties, nonprofit fundraisers, and conferences like Creative Works. The Halloran Centre provides adequate space for our growing education programs like our Broadway 101 Masterclass series, summer camps, interactive field trips, and more.

5. What is a fun fact about The Orpheum Theatre that our members might not know?
For every touring Broadway production that comes to the theatre, our dedicated volunteer ushers make the entire cast and crew a homemade meal and a show-themed cake towards the end of the show’s run in Memphis. Cast members throughout the years have shared how happy they are when they see Memphis on their schedule because they have heard about or experienced first-hand this unparalleled display of ‘Southern Hospitality.’

6. What are you most looking forward to at The Orpheum Theatre in 2017?
We are currently in the process of updating our restrooms to better accommodate our patrons. We are adding 29 restrooms, almost doubling the size of our current facilities. These additions will be made to the washrooms on the Lower Level, Balcony, and Upper Level.

7. If our members wanted to learn more about The Orpheum, where should they go?
To learn more about the Orpheum Theatre Group visit our website, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest news.

Posted: 2/22/2017 11:35:52 AM | with 0 comments
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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (