Please welcome back to the stage, The Belcourt Theatre. An institution that has always been what Nashville needs it to be. After a long (almost too long for us) 6-month renovation they have reopened the doors. Therefore, we thought it would be fitting to feature this amazing place as July’s Nashville Rockstar.
The Belcourt Theatre originally opened in 1925 showcasing silent movies, with a Kimball organ, and at the time was Nashville’s largest stage. From 1934 to 1936 the stage became home to the Grand Ole Opry. Then, in 1937 it was renamed to Nashville Community Playhouse and opened for community events, theatre, and film. By 1966, they changed it back to Belcourt Cinema and not much happens until 1993 when Carmike ends a 30-year lease of the building. In 1999 the building becomes leased by the nonprofit Belcourt after the Belcourt LLC closes. Fast forward to 2003 when Thomas Wills purchases the building and by 2007 the Belcourt Group (the current owners) purchase it from Mr. Wills. Today, the mission of The Belcourt Theatre is to engage, enrich, and educate through innovative film programming in their historic theatre, their community, and beyond. And that they do.
On average, The Belcourt Theatre welcomes 160,000 visitors annually. They program 300 films a year, with over 2,300 screenings. More than 13,600 people participate in their yearly in-theatre engagement programs, including Q&A with filmmakers and those featured in the film, conversations with experts, scholars, and community leaders. Over 1,300 students benefit from the film programming and visual literacy activities through their Mobile Movie Theatre visits in conjunction with 35 partner schools or organizations. Not only that, but they offer plenty of resources and more on their website for those looking to enrich the mind.
The recent renovation added a whole new concession stand, a third theatre, larger (and ADA-compliant) bathrooms, new education and outreach space upstairs, a new makeover, and more. One of the coolest aspects is the new entry way named after the recently deceased, Jim Ridley of the Nashville Scene. The renovation is the first major project to the building in 50 years. The place looks amazing and we couldn’t be more excited for them. Please, take the time to go check it out.
Last thing. Here’s to you, Belcourt Theatre. Thanks for always being there for Nashville. For inspiring us, educating, and showing some classic films in between. Keep rockin’ and we’ll keep coming.
See more at: belcourt.org.