Buskirk-Chumley Theatre

114 E. Kirkwood Avenue,
Bloomington, IN 47408

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Buskirk-Chumley Theatre

Located in the heart of downtown Bloomington, this theatre originally opened in 1922 as the Indiana Theatre, with an Atmospheric style interior that contained castle buildings on the side-walls. It was a vaudeville and movie house, built by Harry and Nova Vonderschmitt. In 1933, the Indiana Theatre was severely damaged by fire and was rebuilt in 1934 in an Art Deco style. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Vonderschmitt’s family operated the theatre until 1975 when it was sold to Kerasotes Theatres. Kerasotes twinned the theatre by converting the balcony into a second theatre.

Kerasotes donated the theatre to the Bloomington Area Arts Council in 1995 for a performing arts center. It reopened in 1999 after a $3 million dollar renovation making it a state of the art performance center showcasing regional and national acts. Seating is now at 640.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

BoxOfficeBill on April 11, 2005 at 11:15 am

The lobby is truly elegant. As the theater was not open for performances during my recent visit, I could only surmise what the interior might offer. The performance schedule for April includes a dance group, a chamber concert, some classic films, folksingers, an original play, stand-up comics, and a talk by the wonderful Amy Goodman. Since the seating capacity is small, I gather that the stage must be small as well: how might it accommodate a dance group? The variety of uses from such a troup to Amy Goodman is broad indeed.

Around the corner on Bloomington’s town square is the remnant of another theater building, call the Princess Theater building, now housing commercial businesses.

kencmcintyre on May 22, 2006 at 2:57 pm

There is some additional information about the Indiana on this page:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Here is an item from the July 1, 1922, issue of The American Contractor about Harry Vonderschmidt’s proposed theater in Bloomington:

“BLOOMINGTON, IND. Theatre (M. P.): $50,000. 1 sty., bal. & bas. 64x130. Bloomington. Archt. Shourds Stoner Co., 511 Tribune bldg., Terre Haute, Ind. Owner H. L Vonderschmitt, Washington, Ind. Brk., steel & semi-frpf., brk. walls, stone trim. Archt. will take bids abt. July 5, 1922. Drawing plans.”
The Shourds-Stoner Company was a design, planning, and engineering firm headed by architect D. B. Shourds and civil engineer George J. Stoner. The firm designed everything from single houses to major projects such as dams, highways, and sewerage systems.

I haven’t yet discovered the architect of the 1934 rebuilding, but the facade of the theater remains very much as Shourds-Stoner designed it in 1922.

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