Gretna Theatre & North Theatre in Danville, VA
Shh, the movie's starting once again at North Theatre and the Gretna Theatre.
For those who recall the flicker of old film reels on the screen‚ the North and Gretna theaters bring back memories. And for kids lining up to see the latest Disney movie‚ it’s all about creating new ones.
The North Theatre in Danville and the Gretna Theatre 30 miles to the north both have been restored carefully‚ imbuing a sense of nostalgia as they serve new generations of audience members in the Danville-Pittsylvania County area.
Gretna Theatre owners Donald and Marie Young spent eight months renovating the 1950s movie house and cut the ribbon on the refurbished facility in 2006. It is open mostly on Friday‚ Saturday and Sunday nights and offers entertainment geared toward the whole family.
In addition to presenting current box office hits‚ the theater has hosted performances by Elvis impersonators‚ AC/DC tribute artists and other musical groups. The Youngs also lease the building for special events and meetings.
In Danville‚ community leaders halted plans to bulldoze several properties by spearheading the renovation of the North Theatre in 2003. The group also remodeled two nearby buildings to house a restaurant as well as an art gallery and accommodations for visiting performers.
Built in 1947‚ the North featured live theatrical performances and motion pictures until it closed in 1976. From that time until 2003‚ the building was home to an auction house‚ several churches and a flower shop.
Then‚ with the nurturing of Artistic/Managing Director Jerry Meadors and Board President Roy Gignac‚ the theater underwent dramatic restoration over the course of two years. It was the mission of this duo to restore the North to its former glory, and they did.
All 488 seats were filled when jazz combo The Heath Brothers performed for the reopening in 2005. Since then‚ the theater has featured performances by the Danville Concert Association and local school and dance studios as well as screenings of classic and foreign films.
It also anchors The Little Theatre of Danville‚ which has been entertaining audiences with dramas‚ comedies and stage classics since 1948 but had lacked a permanent home.
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