Illinois Theatre
Downtown Theatre Being Restored in Centralia, Illinois

The historic Illinois Theatre lies in the heart of beautiful downtown Centralia, IL.

This Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of many people of Centralia and past residents of this area. Those who remember the early days of vaudeville may be gone, but the Illinois Theatre is still here. Even though the building began to show serious signs of neglect before it was abandoned in December, 2001, people still came to the movies in this building until the day the doors closed.

Over 20 local leaders met weekly at 8 a.m. for a year to discuss the possibility of saving this building from decay and demolition. Kerasotes owners were asked to donate the building to the city, after it was left unused for over 4 years. A volunteer Board of Directors began their journey toward their dream of using this theatre to revitalize the community in 2006.

Monthly, and sometimes weekly, meetings were held to make business plans, raise funds, and work with an architect on how to restore the beauty of this building. The Directors, both past & present, feel that this theatre could be the “Hub of the Downtown”, connecting the Recreation Center, the Carillon, the Technology Center, the Museum, the Amtrak Station, the Carnegie Library and band shell, with local businesses and specialty shops.

This former vaudeville & movie theatre has already undergone many thousands of dollars in restoration, but we are still in need of help.

The ornate beauty of this Centralia landmark can now be seen as the lobby area, restrooms, and mezzanine are nearly complete. If you haven't seen the progress recently, you don't want to miss an opportunity for a tour of the downtown Illinois Theatre. See a more complete list of progress and what has been completed to date. You will also enjoy the interior photos.

For more updated information and marketing info contact Program Director, Jane Pacey, at P.O. Box 30, Centralia, IL. 62801, 618-532-0638.

Some Historical Facts about the Illinois Theatre

  • First opened in 1922 as a Vaudeville Theatre.
  • First movie house in town to show “Talkies” in 1925.
  • In 1976 BAC renovated the building in blue and silver at a cost of $250,00, putting a second projection booth downstairs.
  • In 1980 Kerasotes bought the building and operated as a movie theatre until 2001.
  • In 2001, Kerasotes closed Locust Street Building and bought new theatre complex in shopping center. Kerasotes donated theatre to city in 2005.
  • In 2006 a Not-for-profit organization incorporated to raise funds and preserve the building.
  • Renovation began in late August, 2007.
  • In December of 2007 construction was halted until more funds could be raised.
  • In 2008 roof leaks prevent further renovation until late December, 2011.

Help Turn the Lights Back On Downtown!

The Downtown Centralia Illinois Theatre, Inc. is an organization committed to "Turning the Lights Back On" in Downtown Centralia by restoring this Southern Illinois gem and reopening the historic Illinois Theatre in Centralia, Illinois. Upon completion of the work on the building the organization plans annual programming of professional theatre, artistic productions, entertainment and educational programs.

The City of Centralia has provided $250,000 in TIF funds and the State of Illinois Tourism Bureau has awarded $154,00 toward the restoration of the Theatre. The Board of Directors has raised $250,000 in donations and pledges so far and is seeking another $400,000 in donations or grants to complete this worthy project.

All Donations Appreciated

You can be a part of this historic project! Please consider a donation. Click for a mail-in form.

Illinois Theatre
P. O. Box 30
Centralia, IL. 62801

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