Indiana Theatre

136 W. Washington Street,
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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Indiana Theatre

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The revived Indiana Theatre is a former movie palace which opened on June 18, 1927 with 3,313 seats, and it once housed bowling alleys and billiards in its basement and the Indiana Roof Ballroom upon its roof (which had its own entrance at 140 W. Washington Street). At some point during its history, the Indiana Theatre was modified to allow for showings of Cinerama movies.

But by the start of the 1980’s, the theater became the home of the Indiana Repertory Theatre. To accomodate the theater group, the house was split in half, and the balcony was made into a second theater. Thankfully, the alterations did not destroy the theater’s luxurious, upstairs Atmospheric style ballroom.

Also of interest, the theater’s original organ, a 3 manual/18 rank Barton, is now owned by the Central Indiana Theatre Organ Society and was installed in the Warren Center for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 16, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Here is a December 2008 photo.

Wulfe51
Wulfe51 on June 6, 2009 at 7:54 am

Are you certain of the 6/26/68 date for the showing of 2001? My recollection is of an autumn release…I seem to recall that school was still in session when I took the bus down there to see it.

JohnMLauter
JohnMLauter on June 6, 2009 at 10:50 am

The Indiana was always Known as the Indiana theatre, the name “Publix” refers to the Paramount-Publix franchise, which this theatre was a part of. This was before the federal government anti-trust action, which eneded the studios' ability to own the theatres in which their products were shown. Several theatres in Detroit were Publix houses, the local franchise there was owned by the Kunsky chain. Another local firm in Indy no doubt held the franchise for that city/area.

busswt
busswt on October 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm

The organ is now at the Warren Performing Arts Center. Here it play here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfXKz8g04Fg

See still pictures here: View link

I am still in disbelief that the auditorium of the theatre was ruined by the IRT remodel. I remember seeing the orchestra lift operate during a closed ATOS meeting one Sunday morning years ago. A Thomas Theatre Organ was played by Kenny Jagger. I read above that the lift mechanism was trashed. What a tragedy!!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am

Photos of the Indiana Theatre in its current state. Some are very nice. Others, such as the apparent leopard spot carpeting in one of the lounges, not so much:

View link

To view click on the second tab marked “Photos”.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 24, 2010 at 10:44 am

Click here for a photograph of the Indiana Theatre taken in 1930 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto & Mann.

Petronius2
Petronius2 on September 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Anybody who, like me, first saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” in Cinerama at the Indiana Theater, on its first release in 1968, will certainly never forget the experience. Some films are made IN Cinerama, but that one seemed to be made FOR Cinerama. It’s just not the same on a regular screen, and without the fine resolution of a good 70mm print. I was still in high school and was just blown away by the stunning artistry. I ended up seeing it, what, five times at the Indiana? Six times? Seven or more? A whole lot of times. Unforgettable.

A

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