Posts Tagged ‘Theater’

Its events like these that remind me Richmond hasn’t lost its artsy flair, although its sometimes hidden under riverside marinas and downtown penthouses.  Throughout the summer you can enjoy the Festival of the Arts at Dogwood Dell.  Activities include music, plays, singers, dance, and more.  The variety is a large part of what makes this event so much fun for everyone.  The festival has been held every sumemr since 1956 in Dogwood Dell, a 2400 seat amphitheatre owned and operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation.  It is located in Byrd Park, on the Carillon side, near the entrance to the Maymont children’s farm. 

Here is the schedule for the remainder of the Summer.  All of these events take place on the main stage unless otherwise noted:   

July 23: VOCAL, original songs, 8 p.m.
July 24: Joe Tan, R & B, 8 p.m.
July 30-31: “Pippin” Musical, 8:30 p.m. 


August 1: “Pippin” Musical, 8:30 p.m.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          August 3: Bill Wellington, songs & stories, 12:30 p.m.                                                                                                                                                                                            August 6-7: “Pippin” Musical, 8:30 p.m.
August 8: Groove Stu, R&B, jazz and funk 8 p.m.
August 9: “Twelfth Night,” Richmond Shakespeare, 8:30 p.m.
August 14: Latin Jazz Festival, Latino jazz, dance, 1-7 p.m. 

There is also the Ha’Penny Stage located behind the Carillon, which offers children’s theatre and entertainment on Sunday afternoons during the Festival of Arts. Programs include music, theatre, juggling, story-telling and more.  Here is the schedule for the remainder of the Summer: 


25th – Dance for Joy:  A Chinese Celebration 4pm 

30th – SPARC Summerstarz: Willy Wonka, Jr. 11am 


1st – Michael Hawkins Chorus – Gospel 4pm 

8 – Life Stage – Theatre

All events at Festival of the Arts are free and open to the public.  If you arrive early you may be able to get a seat in the amphitheater, but what is the fun in that?  Bring a blanket or chairs and enjoy the show from the park.  These productions do take place outside so be prepared for the heat/rain or whatever else the weather may throw at us these days.  Shows usually aren’t cancelled until showtime, to account for passing thunderstorms.  So, you can either show up and hope the storm passes in time or, hold off if there is bad weather and call 804-646-DELL to see if the show is cancelled.

The Dogwood Dell Festival of the Arts is another great Summer Richmond tradition, so try to get out to at least one show!


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I came up with a whole bunch of inside activities for this week and weekend, and in case you don’t have windows, it’s of course, sunny and 85 degrees.  Regardless, this particular activity looks interesting enough to forego the weather and go inside. 

The Science Museum of Virginia is more than just a museum.  It also has one of the first IMAX movie theaters and the largest movie screen in Virginia.  IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than most conventional film systems.  The IMAX theater at the Science Museum is an IMAX Dome theater which uses a projector with a fish-eye lens to project the movie onto a tilted dome screen.  The museum regularly hosts educational movies here such as Deep Sea, Arabia, and Mysteries of the Great Lakes.  You can get a full schedule of what is playing now here.  The theater also occasionally plays mainstream movies and some holiday specials (Santa vs. the Snowman was one of my favorites). 

Tonight, the Science Museum is hosting a LiveSky planetarium show in the dome to complement its Vincent Van Gogh IMAX movie.  The movie, Vincent Van Gogh, Brush with Genius, is currently playing at the theater and will run through June 18.  Viewers will have the opportunity to discover the colors and beautiful brushwork of Van Gogh as they relive his life through his letters, places that inspired him, and of course his paintings. The movie plays tonight at 5pm.  Complementing this presentation is “It’s a Starry Night in the planetarium,” a LiveSky planetarium show.  The show will recreate the actual night skies that inspired Vincent Van Gogh to paint his famous work — The Starry Night — along with his other night pieces.

There will also be an astronomer present to answer questions about what you see in the current night sky.  The show starts tonight, May 21, at 6pm and there is no late seating, so arrive early.  Admission is $5.  This event has the potential to be fun, education, affordable, and even romantic.  It’s not too often you find that.  Enjoy!

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It has been a rainy week and looks to be a rainy weekend.  Many of you have been asking for inside activities, so the next few days will cover a few inside activities for everyone.  Today’s activity is Theater IV – The Children’s Theatre of Richmond.  Theater IV is a nonprofit professional theater for younger audiences and families that tours all over the United States, in addition to performing here in Richmond.  

Theatre IV was founded in 1975 and was Virginia’s first professional theatre for younger audiences. They are located in the Empire Theatre, which they took four years to restore, on Broad Street.  The Empire Theatre was built in 1911 and is one of Virginia’s oldest theatres.  Theatre IV has been recognized as the “most outstanding contribution to children’s theatre” in the Southeastern United States.  It was also the only theatre in the U.S. to be chosen by the U. S. Dept. of Justice, the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies as one of the twelve most proactive youth arts programs in the nation in 1995.  The founders of Theatre IV were named two of the 100 Most Influential Richmonders in the 20th Century.  In 2001, Theatre IV took over the responsibilities of the Barksdale Theatre and formed a partnership that still exists today.  Theater IV was also asked to perform their production of Buffalo Soldier at the pentagon as a morale booster after September 11.  They were the first professional theatre in the U.S. to perform inside the Pentagon.  Theatre IV has won the Family Favorite Award for Best Family Theatre in Richmond every year that it was offered. 

In my mind, one of the best things about this organization is the role its taken in the Richmond community and with children’s issues throughout the United States.  Some of the causes they have taken on include speech instruction for hearing-impaired children, child sexual abuse, juvenile delinquency & runaways, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, Vietnam POW’s, child safety, Richmond Boys Choir, and child education to name a few.  

Theatre IV puts on a wide variety of plays ranging from Jack and the Beanstalk & Snow White to I Have A Dream and Harriet Tubman.  There are also holiday favorites like Twas the Night Before Christmas and A Christmas Carol.  All shows are targeted at younger audiences, around age 8 and older.  Right now Theatre IV is putting on The Sound of Music and is getting rave reviews.  I haven’t actually been to this show yet so I can’t speak to it personally but reviews online and in the Times Dispatch are glowing.  In fact, many of you have already posted on this site that you loved it.  I’m looking forward to seeing it myself.  Through the end of the month, there will be kid-friendly shows at earlier times with snacks for the kids.  In June and July there will be later shows with a full bar.  Tickets are approximately $40.  You can purchase tickets here

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I chose the Landmark Theater for today because of all the excitement about Broadway coming to Richmond, specifically, the musical Wicked.  My tickets aren’t until next week, so I can’t give an actual review of the show, but I wanted to do the post earlier so you could try to get tickets before the show concludes next week. 

The Landmark Theater, formerly known as the Mosque when my husband and I were in college, was built in 1926 by the Shriners as their Acca Temple Shrine.  The City of Richmond purchased the building in 1940.  The name was changed to The Landmark because it is one of the most recognizable and best known buildings in Richmond.  The theater now hosts a variety of events including Broadway, symphony, ballet, children’s theater, lectures, concerts, school commencements, fashion shows and the Richmond Forum.  It is known for its excellent acoustics.

Wicked has been long-awaited here in Richmond, especially in the last year.  The show was huge on Broadway and is getting good reviews here as well from the Times Dispatch and Richmond Magazine.  The show is here until March 28th and there are still tickets available (check weeknight shows for the best availability).  Something many people may not know is that there is a daily lottery for a limited number of orchestra seats held before each performance.  Each day, 2½ hours prior to the show, people who show up at the Landmark Theater box office will have their names placed in a lottery drum and then thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each, cash only.  This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person.  Tickets are regularly $40 and up.  Click here for parking recommendations.  Enjoy the show and if you can’t get tickets, be sure to visit the theater anyway!

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I picked The Byrd Theater for my first activity because I was just there with my kids last weekend to see Princess and the Frog (a great movie if you haven’t already seen it).  I’ve been going to The Byrd since college (we won’t discuss how long that is, but just trust me, its a long time) and to be sitting there still, now with my own children, was almost surreal. 

The Byrd Theater was built in 1928 in what is now known as Carytown.  It is both a State and National Historic Landmark.  In 2007, The Byrd was purchased by The Byrd Theater Foundation with the express purpose of restoring and preserving the theater as a vital community resources.  It currently functions as a “second-run” movie theater, selling tickets for only $1.99.  The theater is open 365 days a year with shows running usually at 7:15 and 9:30, with an additional show at 4:30 on weekends.  The box office only opens 1/2 hour before the show and the lines are long so be sure to get there early.  Its also cash only, although there is now an ATM machine in the lobby. 

In addition to $1.99 movies, The Byrd has hosted the French Film Festival, Virginia Independent Film Festival, fundraisers for various charities, sing-a-long versions of the Wizard of Oz and Its a Wonderful Life, visits with Santa, and more.  The theater is also available for event rentals and is even used for weddings and receptions. 

Visiting The Byrd, is truly an experience that goes beyond the beautiful interior and architectural details.  The staff dresses in vintage clothing, the seats are original (trust me on this, some people bring their own cushions), and on Saturday nights guests are treated to the Mighty Wurlitzer.  No, this is not a hazing ritual.  The Mighty Wurlitzer is a theater organ that was custom-made and installed when the theater was built.  It was designed as a “one man orchestra” to accompany silent movies.  There is nothing like watching that organ rise up from the orchestra pit and listening to the whole theater get into the music.  I’m pretty sure my kids liked it more than the movie. 

The Byrd is now undergoing a major fundraising effort to fund a much-needed restoration of the theater.  The foundation needs approximately $5 million dollars to complete all the needed renovations.  People can donate here.  The Byrd is a vital part of Richmond “culture” and it would be devastating to lose it, so give generously!

So, in conclusion, if you have never been to The Byrd, or want a true Richmond experience, this is the place to go.  Its family friendly (depending on the movie of course), budget-friendly, and it doesn’t hurt that it is right next to Coppola’s Deli and across the street from Bev’s Ice Cream, but that is another post.  Thanks for reading our inaugural activity and I hope you keep coming back for more!

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