Home Arts & Entertainment A historical theatre looks toward the future

A historical theatre looks toward the future


Celebrating its hundreth year, the Wealthy Theatre has returned from near destruction to provide entertainment to Grand Rapids audiences.

Kicking off on January 1, 2011, the Community Media Center, CMC, launched a campaign, four years in the making with a sold-out concert featuring Michigan musicians.

From Grand Rapids’ historical archives.

The Centennial Campaign goal is to raise $500,000 for renovations. Looking to make the theatre more environmentally friendly and to update the technology, helping to bring the theatre into the 21st century.

With a campaign working to bring in revenue for renovations, the theatre hopes to stay around long enough to celebrate another hundred years.

According to the CMC’s website, one of the biggest problems facing historic theatres today is the cost of energy to run and heat them. Not wanting to increase admission fees to cover the growing costs of energy, the CMC is looking to green their theatre.

The campaign even has the support of Mayor George Heartwell, who wrote a letter of support on behalf of the CMC’s Centennial Campaign.

“As a registered historic landmark, Wealthy Theatre is a shining beacon of Grand Rapids’ dedication to honoring the past by embracing the future,” Heartwell said.

The CMC took over the Wealthy Theatre in 2005, and since has been turning it into a community venue that brings in the crowd.

Erin Wilson, the Wealthy Theatre director said, “I love hearing that Wealthy Theatre is providing a benefit to the people of the city of Grand Rapids, adding to the cultural, educational and informational options available in

West Michigan. Honestly, our role as an organization dedicated to providing free expression and artistic outlets to local and regional community members is what makes me proudest.”

Nearly everyday of the week, a variety of events are taking place at the theatre from dance classes, to concerts and movies, to forums and meetings.

A popular event is the Meanwhile Film Series that takes place every Tuesday night. Old films are chosen and audiences get to enjoy a night of nostalgia, popcorn and beer.

The tickets are $5 for non-members and $4.50 for members; only members can buy from the bar inside the theatre.

“Grand Rapids is fortunate to have this gem of a theater—the Wealthy.” Michael Moore, an American filmmaker said. “I honor its existence and am proud it serves the people of West Michigan. Please do what you can to support it.”

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