Byrd Theatre

2908 W. Cary Street,
Richmond, VA 23221

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Byrd Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Neighborhood Theatres

Architects: Fred A. Bishop

Functions: Movies, Movies (Second Run)

Styles: French Renaissance

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 804.353.9911
Manager: 804.358.3056

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News About This Theater

Byrd Theatre

The Byrd Theatre, named after William Byrd, the founder of Richmond, is one of Virginia’s finest cinema treasures.

The 1,400-seat theatre, the first in Virginia to be equipped with a sound system, opened to great fanfare on December 24, 1928. The first audiences paid 50 cents for evening shows and 25 cents for matinees. Children were admitted for only 10 cents.

The Byrd’s creators spared no expense in creating the theatre. Among its many features: mythically-inspired murals, imported Greek and Italian marble, spectacular crystal chandeliers, hand-sewn velvet drapes, fountains, a central vacuum system, and its own Wurlitzer (which is still in use and plays every Saturday night).

Another interesting aspect of the Byrd Theatre is that it contains a natural underground spring in its basement. Water can be pumped from this spring for use by the building’s air conditioning system.

In 1978, the theatre was designated a state landmark. And the following year, it was named a National Historic Landmark.

What may be the most remarkable thing about the Byrd Theatre is that the theatre has somehow survived the past seventy years largely unaltered—in appearance and function. It still shows movies to this day.

Contributed by Gary Cowardin (Byrd Engineer), Vmad

Recent comments (view all 78 comments)

cmastersin on November 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm

The conversion to digital has been completed.

cmastersin on March 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

I have recently added some digital photos of the Byrd interior that shows the stunning interior after EIGHTY FIVE YEARS! Unrestored and still beautiful! Enjoy

tcaldwell on October 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

cmastersin, thanks for the great pictures of this great theater. I enjoyed talking to you after the Cameron Carpenter concert, and thanks for mentioning your pictures. You asked about The Senator. Here is a link from today’s Baltimore Sun.

GeorgeStrum on May 27, 2015 at 9:16 am

The Theatre Historical Society of America will be visiting here on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015.

menright on March 30, 2016 at 1:28 pm

About 16 or 17 years ago I was on business in Richmond and got to watch a few movies from the projection booth. That was awesome. They still had two carbon arc projectors and the most amazing electric panel for all the house lights and such. I could swear they still had some knife switches on that panel.

menright on March 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm

I should have checked the other photos first. They have a picture of the panel, worth checking out.

DavidZornig on August 2, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Edgar Allan Poe festival coming.

DavidZornig on December 5, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Facebook link to a photo of the organ at the Byrd Theatre.

paul baar
paul baar on April 6, 2020 at 9:24 am

“Who’s Minding the Mint?"movie had it’s world premiere September 26,1967 at the Byrd theatre,with actor Milton Berle and it’s director Howard Morris. Source (Richmond Times Dispatch) Sunday September 24,1967.

spectrum on March 3, 2022 at 8:42 pm

From their virtual tour photos it looks like the theatre has been recently restored. Looks in geeat shape and new seating as well.

Currently (2022) they have restricted seating of 400 due to COVID restrictions. They are doing limited engagements (one-day performances 3-5 times per week of classics and recent favorites.)

I’m glad the Byrd is still open and showing movies! The Byrd is the largest old movie palace in the country (outside of the Chinese and El Capitan theatres in Hollywood) still showing movies on a full time basis.

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