Do you like going to the movies? Do you like going to the theatre? How much would you pay to see a movie, in a fancy, historical movie theatre? If your answer was more than $1.99, then you overshot the price by a long shot! The Byrd Theatre in Carytown has movies nearly every night of the week for the mere fee of $2.00 – You can’t beat that!!
The theatre itself was built in 1928 by William Byrd II, one of the founders of Richmond, and it has been in operation ever since. The entire building is running in practically it’s original form – even the seats – and let me tell you, the seats could use some help! Everyone I know says that when they go to The Byrd their legs or butt fall asleep – it happens to me too.
In 2007 The Byrd Theatre Foundation purchased the building and have been trying to raise money to fix up the theatre and keep it running in tip-top condition. One of their fundraisers happens every Saturday night – the mighty Wurlitzer is played by resident organ player Bob Gulledge. It’s truly a magical experience. They open the doors to the balcony (which is closed every other night of the week) and ask for donations as you go up the stairs to repair the seats in the theatre. I’d never been to The Byrd a Saturday, but this particular day I was! I felt like a little kid getting to sit in the cool seats. The theatre looks so grandiose from the balcony, and thanks to the nice ladies collecting money on the stairs I learned that the giant chandelier in the center of the house (that I was now closer to than ever before) measures 18 feet across, weighs 2.5 tons, and has over 5,000 Czechoslovakian crystals! Inside are 500 red, blue, green, and amber lights!
For more info on The Byrd Theatre and all it’s history visit: http://www.byrdtheatre.com/