114 E. Kirkwood Avenue,
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Buskirk Chumley Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Kerasotes Theatres, Vonderschmitt Theatres
Architects: D.B. Shourds
Firms: Shourds Stoner Company
Functions: Live Performances, Movies
Styles: Art Deco, Atmospheric, Spanish Renaissance
Previous Names: Indiana Theatre
Located in the heart of downtown Bloomington, this theatre originally opened in 1922 as the Indiana Theatre, with an Atmospheric style interior that contained castle buildings on the side-walls. It was a vaudeville and movie house, built by Harry and Nova Vonderschmitt. In 1933, the Indiana Theatre was severely damaged by fire and was rebuilt in 1934 in an Art Deco style. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Vonderschmitt’s family operated the theatre until 1975 when it was sold to Kerasotes Theatres. Kerasotes twinned the theatre by converting the balcony into a second theatre.
Kerasotes donated the theatre to the Bloomington Area Arts Council in 1995 for a performing arts center. It reopened in 1999 after a $3 million dollar renovation making it a state of the art performance center showcasing regional and national acts. Seating is now at 640.
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Recent comments (view all 7 comments)
The lobby is truly elegant. As the theater was not open for performances during my recent visit, I could only surmise what the interior might offer. The performance schedule for April includes a dance group, a chamber concert, some classic films, folksingers, an original play, stand-up comics, and a talk by the wonderful Amy Goodman. Since the seating capacity is small, I gather that the stage must be small as well: how might it accommodate a dance group? The variety of uses from such a troup to Amy Goodman is broad indeed.
Around the corner on Bloomington’s town square is the remnant of another theater building, call the Princess Theater building, now housing commercial businesses.
There is some additional information about the Indiana on this page:
Here is an item from the July 1, 1922, issue of The American Contractor about Harry Vonderschmidt’s proposed theater in Bloomington:The Shourds-Stoner Company was a design, planning, and engineering firm headed by architect D. B. Shourds and civil engineer George J. Stoner. The firm designed everything from single houses to major projects such as dams, highways, and sewerage systems.
I haven’t yet discovered the architect of the 1934 rebuilding, but the facade of the theater remains very much as Shourds-Stoner designed it in 1922.
Twinning this atmospheric was a crime!
And the Princess Theatre should be restored and returned to Bloomington.
Patsy,When I attended IU in 1968-70, The Indiana was no longer Atmospheric, but if you read above it was art deco after a severe fire in 1933,, although it was so drab and dreary when I went to 2001 a Space Odyssey, the only interior impression was of a sad old theater that had not been cared for.
As regards the Princess, It has had a building collapse,and a fire that caused extensive damage. Next time I am in Bloomington I will try to go by and see what condition the building is in.
Patsy, Most current information I could fing on the Princess is: The façade of the theatre was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The front half of the auditorium and stage walls collapsed in 1985. This area was razed and condominiums and commercial storeroom facilities were constructed in their place. The area that once contained the foyer and lobby has been renovated throughout the years for use as a variety of restaurants and was most recently home to a restaurant called the Village Pub.