Irving Theater

5505 East Washington Street,
Indianapolis, IN 46219

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rivest266 on November 1, 2015 at 9:20 am

Reopened as Irving on November 20th, 1987

rivest266 on October 31, 2015 at 11:05 am

May 25th, 1970 grand opening ad as Festival in photo section.

TheIrving on July 23, 2007 at 10:40 am

The Irving reopened June 3, 2006 as primarily a concert venue. We’ve hosted about a hundred or so concerts in the past year. Everything from the solo singer/songwriters to large national acts like MxPx and Gym Class Heroes. And we’re preparing to take two months off for more renovation work.

galoux on June 27, 2007 at 8:48 am

Any updates to be had on the Irving? I no longer live in Indy (haven’t for decades), but I grew up in Irvington. So did my mom and dad, and the former actually worked at the Irving in the 1940s.

I remember it as the Irving and in the 1970s as the Festival, a theater showing indy and underground films.

I’d love there to be a renaissance and restoration of the Irving as a theater.

pfraizer on January 18, 2006 at 9:37 am

I would also like to address Bruce’s comments regarding the theater, as well as respond to the guys who currently own the theater.

The money that had been raised already is still in a savings account. There are plans to give these monies to the Irvington Historical Society. The foundation had tried to communicate this to eveyone who gave so generously. We are sorry if this didn’t happen.

It’s true that people have been talking about restoring the theater for several years. The foundation was active for three years and went through some serious learning curves. The bottom line is that getting a project like this done right can take many years. I visited many other historic theaters around the state and some of the more successful ones had taken nearly 10 years and were still not completed. The upkeep alone can be incredibly expensive.

The foundation had admittedly been floundering for 2 years and we were turning the corner—slowly. We had several community groups that were interested in helping us—and we were trying to work out the risks involved as far as financing. It takes lots of research, planning and a big picture vision in order to make it happen. In the end, the owner just couldn’t afford to wait any longer.

The bottom line is that it would have been very difficult to maintain the property as a non-profit. It also takes much more community support. We are hoping that the internet cafe guys can make a go of it. Everyone in the community wants to see the theater be the cornerstone of the old main street in Irvington. We look forward to that time. I know that if that’s accomplished, many more improvements will follow.

The advice I would give to Bruce is: Please contact the new owners and see how you can help and pick up a screwdriver and get your hands dirty. It’s lots harder than it looks. No one sets out to fail in these matters…we certainly didn’t intend to. We’re happy that work is moving forward.

TheIrving on October 31, 2005 at 4:44 pm

On October 1st the Irving was sold to the guys who run the internet cafe, myself being one of those guys.

To address Bruce’s comments specifically: The Irving Theater Foundation never got around to raising money. They didn’t get their 501©3, and their agreement with the previous owner expired this past June.

We’re working on a new website, There isn’t a whole lot to see there right now, but we’ll have a bigger, better site in time. Working on the building is our priority.

To clear up some other things, the coffee shop and internet cafe are in two of the retail spaces on the side of the building – not in the actual theater.

We’ve been working on the theater – preparing rooms for an artist’s space and a recording studio. I got the old sign up and running again. There are two letters out, but at least it’s back on. If you drive by on a Friday or Saturday night, it just might be lit up. The theater will be restored into a live music/performance and movie/film venue. We anticipate this taking at least 2-3 years, but it WILL happen. :)

Anybody is welcome and encouraged to contact us, we’ve links on the website.

midwestmrs on October 20, 2005 at 5:13 pm

I agree. It has been empty for too long.

ButchCastetter on October 20, 2005 at 4:51 am

I live in Irvington..I would love to see the theater restored for high end acoustic and similar genre concerts, with a sound system that makes people say ,,wow.

Irvington is a “can do” kind of neighborhood. Those old houses are a labor of love and most people in this neighborhood know which end of a screw driver to hold on to.

I’m sick and tired of these blow hards.. They use this project to grandstand and talk,, talk.. talk. I’ve been hearing about plans for the irving for over 5 years now and not a damn thing has changed.


If you’re not going to retore it.. Get out of the way and sell it to someone that will.

midwestmrs on October 16, 2005 at 4:46 pm

Irvington needs a boost and a historic theatre would surely add to the “historic flavor” that Irvington is striving for.

rowboat on April 27, 2005 at 4:55 am

The theater is being restored, but not to its 1915 granduer. Oddly enough, due to historic preservation, the exterior of the building can’t be altered to the point required to give it its 1915 appearance.

Also, the internet cafe was supposed to be in the upstairs offices & projection booth, but it’s now located in one of the retail shops on the side of the building, along with the coffee shop. The theater proper is still vacant and awaiting renovation.