The Tivoli Theatre Foundation Board, organized to take the reins of the Tivoli Theatre and the Soldier and Sailor Memorial Auditorium from the City on July 1, 2015, has selected AC Entertainment (AC) to manage and program the venues.
AC was chosen after a national search and process that produced proposals from leading players in venue management. AC’s track record in transforming Knoxville’s Historic Tennessee Theatre and its 106 year old neighbor, the Bijou Theatre, into active performance centers and catalysts for downtown development seemed like the ideal approach for reviving Chattanooga’s iconic Tivoli Theatre and breathing new life into the Memorial Auditorium.
AC has operated and programmed the Historic Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville since 1996, and helped to guide the theater through its $30 million renovation in 2003 and 2004. Since then, the Tennessee has experienced steady growth in activity and unprecedented success. It has also served as a key factor in downtown Knoxville’s transformation into an active city center.
In 2006, then-Mayor Bill Haslam asked AC to re-open Knoxville’s historic vaudeville-style theater, the Bijou. The Bijou has now also experienced consistent and growing success in the ensuing nine years – its first successful run since in its modern history as a performing arts venue.
The Tivoli opened on March 19, 1921 following two years of construction. Construction cost was close to $1 million – a lavish sum for its day. The Tivoli’s interior reflects the Beaux Arts style popular for movie palaces of the 1920s. Its high domed ceiling, grand lobby, crystal chandeliers, and elegant foyer were designed to transport patrons to a world of richness and splendor. Designed by the Chicago-based architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp, the Tivoli was built to accommodate both silent movies and live stage productions, making it state-of-the-art for its time. It has undergone several renovations. It seats just over 1,750.
Created as a living memorial to Hamilton County war veterans, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium opened on February 22, 1924. First proposed at a Kiwanis Club meeting in 1918, Memorial Auditorium was designed as a municipal auditorium and all-purpose exhibition hall. Built by the City of Chattanooga at a cost of $700,000, its seating capacity is 4,800. The Walker Community Theatre is housed within the Memorial, and seats 700.
All three facilities have been owned and operated by the City. Mayor Andy Berke’s initiative to breathe life into the underused venues led to the establishment of the Tivoli Foundation.
Source: AC Entertainment