Built in 1927, the theatre at 10th and Dearborn streets started out by showing silent films, then became the first in Indiana to show movies with sound. In the 1960s and 1970s, it hosted rock concerts. After that, the building fell on harder times, and the theatre turned to showing pornography, until it became vacant in 1994.
The auditorium is done. The roof is nearly done. The marquee needs to be removed and rebuilt. The next steps are windows and doors. Then electrical. Then heating and cooling.
The building was trashed, with curtains, string, roping, wiring and a quarter of the roof all over the floor.
The area surrounding the theatre, as it is now, is difficult to sell as an arts district. There have been four fatal shootings this year, and another five in 2016.
“Whatever walk of life people have there now, if they’re the least bit decent, we’re going to reach out and hopefully teach them,” Kelly said. “Give the kids and some of the neighbors things to do and a place to call theirs.” ‘Do something, and then worry about it.’ Resurrecting the Rivoli Theatre – Longform Story