Ionia Theatre to be featured in the Theatre Historical Society of America 2011 Conclave
Keeping the original appeal of history, the Ionia Theatre was selected as one of the Theatre Historical Society of America’s theatres that will be featured in the upcoming tour in Michigan.
“This theater has touched so many lives in Ionia over the last 80 years,” said Ionia Theatre Director Gary Ferguson. “People remember coming in here as kids and how much fun they had.”
Members from the Theatre Historical Society of America toured the facility, and selected it as one of the stops for the tour scheduled for June, 2011.
“They recently toured the theater and immediately said, ‘Yes, this is on the tour,’” said Ferguson. “They toured the entire theater and fell in love.”
Some of the highlights of the tour included the marquee, dressing rooms and the 35mm old projector displayed at the back of the theater.
“They loved the marquee because it is still original, and the theater overall is original, too,” said Ferguson. “The actual appearance has not been disturbed.”
The theater has recently been going through some renovations, keeping with the original details of furnishings.
“We have modernized, but we have kept the look; the Art Deco look and the restoration of the doors,” said Ferguson.
Recently, the doors received a new paint job and the original brass plates and knobs were polished to bring them back to the theater’s historical quality.
The Ionia Theatre was a Butterfield theater which showcased vaudeville acts and silent movies before movies evolved.
“There is enough history here to really make it worthwhile to bring the tour through,” said Ferguson. “We are very honored.”
Before the tour comes in June, the theater is hoping to have more renovations performed to help bring back the historical quality.
“Before they come in, my plans are to have all fixtures, tables and other restorations will be done by that time,” said Ferguson.
To help with restoration costs, the theater will host the annual Buckaroo Ball Feb. 12.
“We are hoping to get enough money to paint (the auditorium) with acoustic paint and remove the sound panels,” said Ferguson. “We want to bring back the tapestry and that will almost bring back the theater to full restoration in the auditorium.”