Bijou Theatre Reopens

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Bijou Theatre Reopens

Posted: 06/02/2006
After more than a year of planning and construction, the 97-year old Bijou Theatre reopened tonight to continue its history of hosting world-class musicians and other performing artists.

In a pre-show ceremony held in front of the theater, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam thanked several people who have been instrumental in reaching this monumental day and presented those in attendance with stars symbolizing their stellar contributions:

Businessmen and civic leaders Fred Langley and Sam Furrow purchased the Bijou's mortgage and waived interest payments until after the theater's finances are stabilized.

Raja Jubran stepped up as chairman of the building committee, analyzed what repairs were needed and guided the $2.5 million construction project.

Congressman John Duncan jump-started the fundraising campaign with a $500,000 federal grant.

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale for his role as a staunch supporter of the Bijou's revival and its role in downtown revitalization.

Bruce Hartmann, past chairman of the Historic Tennessee Theatre board, accepted oversight responsibility for the Bijou and set it on a path patterned after the successful renovation and reopening of the Tennessee Theatre.

Ashley Capps and AC Entertainment, managers of the Tennessee Theatre and now the Bijou, envision the Bijou as a place to showcase and nurture a wide variety of performing arts. Mike Arms and Bruce Hartmann also took the podium to thank other responsible parties, including Lee Ingram Architects and Merit Construction.

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam has raised $2.1 million for the renovation of the historic Bijou Theatre. Those funds have been used to repair and replace several visible and behind-the-scenes elements at the theater:

New Carpet 
Termite and Water Damage Repaired
Upgraded Heating and Air Systems
Roof Repaired
Reupholstered Chairs

An additional $400,000 is being raised to fund the new sound, light and curtaining systems, which are already in place for tonight's show care of the Cornerstone Foundation.

The night's featured performers - R.B. Morris, Robinella, Con Hunley and Vance Thompson, leader of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra - joined Mayor Haslam in cutting the ceremonial ribbon. Guests were then invited into the theater to enjoy a night of music and honors. 

The night included the screening of two video presentations-one recounting the Bijou Theatre's colorful history, and another honoring longtime theater champion, the late Bob Webb-created by DoubleJay Creative.