Wilmette Theater thriving as performing arts center

posted by CSWalczak on October 26, 2009 at 7:35 am

WILMETTE, IL — In 2006, David and Carol Dido bought the twin-screen Wilmette Theater, which originally opened in 1913. At first they tried operating it strictly as a cinema, but they soon discovered that their bank accounts were far healthier by changing to a mixed-use business model that includes a variety of live performances as well as film.

But a funny thing happened on the way to solvency: To their surprise, the Wilmette owners discovered that performing arts events immediately did big business.

From their very first stage offering, “Schoolhouse Rock,” kids and their parents flocked to the Wilmette. Cabaret attractions on one Monday each month drew throngs. Comedy acts, improv theater and concerts by the likes of Leon Redbone packed the place.

Not that it’s exactly huge. But with the two, shoe-box shaped auditoriums — each seating about 190 people — the Wilmette could offer movies and performing arts at the same time, a rarity in the Chicago area.

Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

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